I’ve been wearing this Gore Running Wear during several of my autumn marathon races the past few months. It’s made to beÂ cross country gear and that’s what I got it for but after wearing it for a few training sessions I felt the outfit was more comfy than my regular marathon running kit so wore it for road races instead.
I got both the short and long sleeved tops as I was unsure what the weather on race day would be doing as we went into the winter but as it turned out I only ever wore the long sleeved top during training as race days were always warm.
Here’s more details about the kit and what I thought of it.
X-RUN ULTRA Shirt long
They Say – Ultra-light: lightweight, tight-fitting trail running shirt with UV-protection. Partially taped seams for reduced friction on the skin. Thumb hole in the sleeve and 3-fold cuff that can be used as mittens in cold weather.Â
We Say – This is a very, very light shirt indeed. When I first put it on I thought that there was no way it was going to keep me protected during a cold weather run but I was completely wrong about that. I wore it under a waterproof outer and although it was about 5 degrees and I was a bit chilly for the first few minutes I soon warmed up.
It dealt with moisture well – I got sweaty but didn’t chaff, and that’s what’s most important to me – and didn’t feel uncomfortable at all, however far I ran. My fingersÂ tend to get colder towards the end of any long training session as well asÂ at the beginning and the fact that the cuff can fold down is a great asset for this point in the run.
Because it’s got some UV protection I did consider wearing it during my marathons – getting sun burn is a distinct possibility in Sri Lanka if you’re outside for the amount of time I am there during the marathon (5 hours) – but in the end I was worried about over heating so opted for the short sleeved top instead. The UV protection will come in handy when the weather is right though (sunny but between about 15 and 20, I reckon).
This has been a superb training top. I would have worn it for my cross country ultra this October but I wasn’t in great shape at the time so felt I needed to wear the Gore compression top instead for the core support it offered. Had I been in shape though this top would have been my choice as the day was slightly chilly. I’ve been really impressed with it during training – it allows me to run and stay comfy and protected, what more do I want! – and I’m looking forward to wearing it for those long January runs, when I’ll be training hard to work off the Christmas excess.
X-RUN ULTRA Shirt
They Say – Competition proven. Lightweight, technical shirt for the long distance trail runner. Highly functional fabrics for optimal ventilation. Short front zip and storage for nutrition in the back.Â
We Say – This is a brilliant top. As soon as I put it on I thought, if the weather is right, this is going to be my new marathon race top. It looks great Â (you really stand out from the crowd in this kit thanks to it’s design, quality and Gore’s high end reputation, and I must admit I quite like that. My days of wanting to appear like I’m in some 1970′s athletics film with too tight, hand-me-down vest and shorts were over a long time ago) and it feels even better. Just tight enough to stop chafing but not to the extent of it being like a compression top.
The two storage pockets at the back are really handy. There’s a zipped pocket in between them that’s perfect for keys and the storage pockets can fit two or three gels in each, and they’re deep enough so that the gels aren’t going to flip out on more jolty sections of the run.
I wore this topÂ for the Athens Classical Marthon and for the Sri Lankan Marathon. Athens was only 21 degrees or so; it’s the sort of heat that the top copes with easily. Here’s me at the start of that run…
…and here’s me at the end. The shirt wasn’t soaked with sweat by the end as it had dealt with moisture superbly throughout the race (the zipper was instrumental in this, it allows me to regulate temperature really well) which made it very comfortable to wear throughout the event and also afterwards when we hung around in the magnificent original Olympic stadium, soaking up the atmosphere.
Sri Lanka was a different story. It was about 38 degrees out there on the road so although the zip was once again handy it made little difference when it came to cooling me down.
Below is a photo of me after less than 5km, soaked in sweat. It’s a still shot from a local news channel, no doubt they were highlighting how visitors struggle with the humidÂ conditions!
The marathon was very, very tough. It took me over 5 hours to complete (my usual time is around 3:15 to 3:30) and by the end I was soaked, as I had been from almost the very start, and exhausted. Yet the shirt had never given me any chaffing trouble during the run and by the end itÂ was still looking good (even if I wasn’t at my best personally!). Here’s a shot of me and a mate at the finish line (after I’d been lying down for half hour to get my strength back).
The marathon organisers even thought my kitÂ looked good enough after the marathon to invite me to stand alongside the head of Sri Lankan Airlines and hand out some prizes on the main stage…
Overall, togetherÂ with the X-Run shorts, this top isÂ the best of all my running outfits.
It does the job, excellently, and it also looks brilliant. I feel great in it and that’s important to me on the start line, as it probably is to most of us, if we’re being honest with ourselves.
I’m not racing to win, I’m too old and lacking in motivation during my training to do that. I raceÂ to have a good time. And looking the part as I run (as much as I can do at my age and in my condition) is all part of that enjoyment. I totally recommend you check this kit out.
X-RUN ULTRA Shorts
They Say – Flyweight. Optimized with material and features, these running shorts with high waist, three pockets design, and fixed inner tights set standards in the categories weight and comfort.Â
We Say – I wore these shorts at first with no underwear, thinking the inner tights would be enough. They’re not. I got chaffing pretty bad. But when combined with Gore underwear they’re perfect. No need for vasaline, none at all, at least not in my experience. I wore them for the same races as the shirt, above, as you can see in the photo, and they performed excellently.
I love the feel of them – they’re lightweight and the material is smooth to the touch Â - and they’re a great fit so they don’t impede my running at all, and there’s also a pocket at the back big enough for a house key (a simple thing but an awful lot of otherwise good road running shorts don’t have this. What are you supposed to do when you go out running, leave the key under the rock by the front door? Maybe twenty years ago…)
There’s a little reflective strip on the side, which is always a good thing to have, and although they’re primarily trail running shorts I weighed them up against my usual marathon shorts and decided in favour of these. They’re the same weight as regular road running shorts, they’reÂ comfier in my opinion, they look miles better and they’ve got that little pocket too.
They’re also perfect for both trail and road running which I think is great – it’s always good to have kit that can multi-task. These shorts aren’t cheap but if you take into account their quality and the fact that you can use them for all your running, regardless of terrain, then I think they’re rather good value. As I said above, these shorts plus the X-Run top make up my favourite running outfit; I recommend you check it out.
X-RUN ULTRA Socks
They Say – Ultimate trail socks. Light weight with maximum protection for tough terrain. Padding reduces muscle vibration and protects the ankles. Special paddings for hard trail running shoes.Â
We Say – I wore these on twoÂ of my recent marathons (Nottingham and Sri Lanka), and also an Ultra (London), and then wore myÂ shorter Gore socks on another marathon (Athens) and found that there seemed to be little difference for me when it came to either comfort or performance. I’ve heard some people swear by these compression socks and I did enjoy wearing them (after I learned that it’s best to put a little vasaline around the back of the leg, just under the knee where the socks reach to) but for me it’s too early to say if they really help me or not.
They are, however, another piece of kit that can multitask. I’ve used them for walking around in all day whilst sightseeing and also when I sit around for a long time or take long flights. My leg veins tend to swell up at times like that but by wearing these socks this is prevented. So, I may not have used them in the Athens marathon as I was testing out the other socks then but I did use them travelling to and from there. And for the future I’ve decided that as long as I don’t find that they impedeÂ my performance, which I don’t think they will (they haven’t done so far) I shall use them for all my overseas marathons. I like to travel light, you see, so cutting down on everything is a must. If I can get away with wearing one pair of socks for flying in and running in then I shall.
As with the gear listed above, these socks are going to get a lot of use next year when I returnÂ to the UK and beginÂ some serious trail running. It’s well made kit so I’ve no doubt it’ll be good for the whole season, at least. That’s a great thing about Gore, you know it’s quality, so even though you’re paying a bit for it you know it’s going to stay fit for purposeÂ for years and probably outlast the cheaper brands by a long, long time.