Luckily I was a boy scout when I was much younger and that taught me to be prepared for anything. But, figuring out what to pack before an overseas assignment that visits all 7 continents in 7 days can be somewhat daunting.
I have been very fortunate; next week it will be the 4th time that I have covered the World Marathon Challenge. This year, the event takes 55 athletes from around the World to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.
The runners will complete 183 miles, travelling approximately 28,000 miles whilst experiencing nearly a 50 °degree temperature change. If that wasn’t enough, they will sleep, eat and recover in the air and also cross 16 time zones in less than 168 hours.
The challenge starts in Novo (Antarctica) then heads to Cape Town (Africa), Perth (Australia), Dubai (Asia), Lisbon (Europe), Cartagena (South America) and ends in Miami (North America). It is, without doubt, one of the toughest endurance races on earth.
It tires me out just writing about it , but it is also a physical challenge just covering it for news media/PR purposes rather than a participant.
So, what have I learnt to take on these trips? Well I pack sparingly; I have lost count how many times I have taken too many cloths, jackets and shoes. I take clothes that you can layer, Merino wool or synthetics work really well, also two thin waterproof tops with pockets, always useful for batteries, SD cards and the like. Lightweight trousers, buffs, ziplock bags to keep my passport, credit cards and cash dry and safe, sun cream, hat and sunglasses.
I minimize toiletries with sample sizes and store everything in re-sealable plastic bags. I roll my cloths up (perhaps that’s why I also look scruffy) and also I take a smaller backpack than normal as otherwise I just fill it up with superfluous stuff.
Since we will be visiting Antarctica, I am taking a down jacket, a climate motorbike base layer one piece (I have used this many times and it works a treat.) thermal gloves, Brynje beanie hat and balaclava (thanks to Rhodri at www.nordiclife.co.uk) and insulated trousers.
I am discarding my polar boots, they are just too heavy – so I am hoping that trainers with thermal socks will do the trick for such a short stay. According to the schedule we will be landing in Nova and the marathon will start pretty much straight away, if there are weather delays I might live to regret this one!
That’s pretty much it – aside from all the gear I need to do my job, camera, microphone, tripod, laptop etc.