Running Toys

A while ago, the Ninja Turtle ran a night trail race in Nancy jangling with a whole lot of running gear, and as promised, here is a review on the bits and bobs she ran with. Please note the word “review” is used very loosely, for she has not been paid by anyone to write about any of it, so there is a high likelihood of her losing focus on each product, and talk about something else completely irrelevant instead.

So, the first thing about running at night – having a light is not only ideal, it is necessary. The organisers of the race did state in the rules that a light and whistle were mandatory, but they seem to have failed to enforce this rule strictly enough. The Ninja Turtle should know. She acted as a moving lighthouse for at least two runners who were stumbling along blindly – literally speaking – and frankly, she got quite miffed about it after a while, especially when one of them failed to say thank you, and just sped off ahead as soon as they reached the main roads.

If you're such a "badass runner" who's serious enough to run 32km of trails at nightl, don't be a cheapskate. It only costs 39,95€ to not have to depend on a slowpoke for light.

If you’re such a “badass runner” who’s serious enough to run 32km of trails at night, don’t be a cheapskate. It only costs 39,95€ to not have to depend on a slowpoke for light.

As the Ninja Turtle had no idea what she was looking for in the shop, she simply had to trust the sales guys on their judgement of the product. It meant nothing to her when they said this light has 6 hours of autonomy at 250 lumens, and she drew a few blank looks when she asked what that was in Watts.

To answer that question, a search on the internet produced the following equation: P( W ) = ΦV(lm) / η(lm/W), OR watts = lumens / (lumens per watt).

In other words, she still has no idea. Can you solve for x or y in an equation that says x = y/(y/x)?

Anyway, the light was not as uncomfortable as she initially feared. It’s noticeably there, in an unobtrusively way, and under those circumstances, its presence is more reassuring than annoying. Kind of like one’s shadow. The light has three settings – bright, brighter, brightest, and the red light at the back goes into blinker mode on higher settings. Does it make one feel like a car? Kind of. The only problem the Ninja Turtle had with this was how it pointed rather uselessly straight ahead, onto the back of the runner in front of her,  rather than down on the ground. She had to use one hand to tilt the light downwards so she could see where to put her feet.

Overall rating: 7/10 It’s light (as in, not heavy), it shines brightly and lasts 6 hours, which is longer than the average runner intends to run for in the dark. It’s not expensive, and charges on a USB cable. However, it doesn’t point downwards, and instead of one button for each setting, there’s one single button to turn on, and you have to pass through bright and brighter to get to brightest before you can switch it off. The second item the Ninja Turtle ran with was a brand new hydration pack. To be perfectly honest, it was sort of an impulse buy at the shop, but she rationalised it like this:

Whistle: 4,95€
Cheapest branded hydration pack: 19,95€
Decathlon’s brand hydration pack with built in whistle! : 14,95€


A short distance trail hydration pack that holds up to 5L, and a detachable water bladder that holds 1L.

A short distance trail hydration pack that holds up to 5L, and a detachable water bladder that holds 1L.

It took Turtle a while to figure out the difference in capacity of the bag and the bladder. In the end, she realised that the bag was designed to hold other stuff too (think food, keys, spare socks, maps, compass, toilet paper, etc), not just water. Doh.

Rocking up to the starting line of a 12km trail race with one of these felt a little like overkill, until 2km into the run. The Ninja Turtle realised at that moment that it’s far better to have too much water than not enough, and on this race, there were no water/fuel stops for the 12km runners until the finish line.

Also, her usual hand-held bottle would have been a little too cumbersome on the trail, especially since she was already using one hand to redirect the running light. The biggest concern was bounce, and thankfully, this hydration pack did not bounce around at all. There’s a little clip in the front to hold it in place, and it fitted nicely and comfortably. The weight was unnoticeable… BUT.

Throughout the race, the Ninja Turtle found something rather annoying – the hydration pack makes a squeaky sound. Something, and she suspects it’s where the bladder clips onto the bag, keeps rubbing while she moves, and after an hour of squeakiness, it starts to get annoying. The other runners could also hear her approaching from about a mile away.

Overall rating: 7/10 Not carrying a hand-held bottle is quite revolutionary, suddenly, your hands are free during your run (to push off branches, to wipe sweat/snot off your face, to high-five young children in the neighbourhood, etc). It is light, it looks stylish, and it comes with a whistle! However, be prepared to squeak. The heart rate monitor will be touched upon on another post.

Do you carry water on your runs? What do you use?

Have you ever gone running at night before?


2 thoughts on “Running Toys

  1. Thanks for the reviews! I usually do a hand bottle too. I’ve used a cheap hydration pack and also found it cumbersome unless I’m doing a long, unassisted run. I have a cheap headlamp, with just one setting, but it does tilt, so that’s nice. I do a bit of night running, although it’s usually before the sun is up, not after the sun is down.

    • Absolute pleasure; thanks for weighing in on the topic! I used to carry water on every single run as a matter of security, but am weaning myself off this dependency on distances under 5 miles. Cannot wait to buy a headlamp soon just to give it a try too.

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