Most marathons start in the early hours of the day and of course marathon season is mainly when the mornings are dark and the temperatures are low. You want to make sure you wear some warm clothing over your running gear so that you stay warm while waiting inside your corral for the start to happen. Most runners opt to wear “disposable clothes” while waiting for the race to start. They will then get out of those clothes shortly before the start and just drop them at the side of the street. Most marathon organizers will collect these disposable clothes and donate them to local charities.
There are many different options for disposable clothes which is surprising. Some people – as mentioned – will head to a Goodwill or Dollar Store and by some cheap clothes. Others tough it up and go as they are in their final running gear. Others again use large garbage bags. They cut a hole into the bag for the head (and maybe for the arms) and then the bag protects the upper body from wind and rain and cold temperatures. If you Google the term “Sheddable Shell” you will find a small company that is selling a disposable or sheddable plastic suits. These suits also include a pair of pants. You can simply rip off the entire plastic suit from your body when the race starts or even after the start when you are running and have warmed up a little bit. Others bring their own regular sports clothes and hand them off to friends or family right at the start.
I have yet to see what the temperatures will be for my marathon in November. Las Vegas is in the desert and so the day high and low temperatures can be off quite a bit. As an example the high temperature for Friday was 82 degrees and the low temperature was 60 degrees. The weekly forecast shows a high of 70 degrees and a low of 50 degrees for Friday November 1st. My race is November 17 and I am sure there will be some more adjustments on the weather front until then. The race starts in the afternoon and if the average temperatures over the years give a hint, the temperature at race start time would be around 60 degrees. By the time I expect to finish the race the temperatures will be about 10-15 degrees lower.
I will not carry any extra clothes for traveling as I will travel light with just a carry-on piece of luggage. I will arrive 2 days before the race and so I should be able to keep a close eye on the temperatures when on site. If I see the need for disposable clothes I will go and visit a Goodwill store or a Kmart/Walmart and by the cheapest sweater or light jacket that I can find and will use that as a disposable piece of clothing. For the time after the race I will gear-check appropriate clothes to stay warm and healthy. Two years ago the race day for the marathon must have been extremely windy and I hope that will not be the case this year. I was in Vegas for a convention in March of 2011 and have experienced the strong winds and gusts that can happen in Vegas. It was not much fun running on those windy days.
Runner and blogger “Monica Olivas” just recently wrote about her trip to a local Goodwill store where she picked up some “exciting” disposable clothes. She has ran quite a few marathons already and knows the spiel. I started reading her blog about 2 months ago and it is loaded with info’s about running and eating (thanks for your blog, Monica). For me as a newbie marathon runner (I am running for almost 7 years now, but never attempted to run a marathon) this type of information is really helpful and I probably would have tried to re-invent the wheel about this topic while the solution is so simple. As mentioned, I have plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements and in one way planning for an afternoon race start makes this problem less a problem (but there are plenty of other things to consider for such a late start in the day).