Experience From - Doug Brucks, Suzi Cope, Andy Holak , Jeff Washburn , Kent Holder , Steve Pero , John Vonhof , Paul Bonnett-Castillo , Jennifer Aviles ,

Doug Brucks

Subject: Bandana vs Hat

Instead of using a special hat, I use two large bandanas (white if it is hot and colorful if I don't care about the temp).

Place one bandana with a corner hanging down onto the center of your fourhead. Then roll the other up and into a one inch strip and tie it on as a headband. Fold the first one over the loop to get it off your fourhead.

I also use bandanas for neck warmers - fold into a triangle and tie in the back.

Another great thing about bandanas is that they don't take up much room in your pack or pocket so I often bring replacements.

If you can't find that special hat, consider looking for bandanas.

Suzi Cope

Subject: bandanas

bandanas are the Ultra runners friend. Here are some uses I've found for them:

First year at Hardrock I had the course instructions printed on white bandana's so a few of us could tie our directions on our necks.

They are bandages, tourniquets, wash rags, sweatbands, sunscreens, kotex, face masks, dog leashes, bow ties, ear warmers, chafe protectors, belts, bathing suit tops, diapers, trail markers, bottle holders, gear tie downs, suspenders, and even fashion statements.

Don't leave home without one.

Andy Holak

I've noticed a lot of Western States runners wearing bandanas around their necks during the race including Western States legend Tim Twietmeyer. I used to be a forest fire fighter and often used the bandana over my mouth to try and filter out the smoke a little and to dip in a creek to keep my neck cool. My guess is that the bandanas could be used over the mouth to filter the dust, to keep sun off the neck, or to dip in a creek. Have any of you used a bandana for any of these reasons at Western States? Do you use a bandana for any other reason for an ultra? Is the dust bad enough on the trail sometimes to warrant the use of a bandana? How many of you have had problems with the dust? Does the bandana work for you (not talking about fashion here)?

Jeff Washburn

Most of the bandanas you see at Western States are a specially made one that they sell there that retains cold. They do help some to keep your neck cool during the hot parts of the day; however, they can chill you greatly as the temperatures cool.

As for dust, the only place that is bad is the section between Robinson Flat and the descent into the canyon before Devils's Thumb. And this section can be extremely dusty. Last year there was a few inches of dust on the roads. There can be traffic on these roads but the cars are rare. The dust, however, does get stirred up plenty just by the other runners. Even a regular bandana can help through this section.

Kent Holder

Most of the uses for ultrarunners using bandanas are obvious: cooling off by dipping in the creeks, filtering out air-borne dust & pollen, etc. I have used mine to wrap ice in when available, protection from sunburn on the head & neck, washing away the grime & caked on salt, extra warmth protection in my shorts on unexpectedly cold & windy days, etc. When I tore up my ankle last year, I dumped out my water bottles & wrapped the ice in my bandana & then wrapped it around the swollen ankle & limped back to my jeep. These are lots of good reasons for wearing a bandana, but if you really want to know the real reasons I wear a's because it looks cool & all the rookies ask why do you wear that bandana?

Steve Pero

I have used a bandana at the previous 2 Vermont 100's. What I do is fill my hat AND the bandana with ice during the hotter part of the day and the ice keeps me cool and the water runs continuously down Your back. What I don't like about it is when the ice melts, it tends to bounce a bit and gets annoying. Sure maybe I could wear it a bit tighter, but then it's harder to get off at the aid station to put more ice in it.

John Vonhof

My personal favorite is to use a large sea sponge, usually found at natural food stores or some better drug stores. These sponges are filled with tiny holes and air chambers that all link together. They are very soft when wet and hold many times their weight in water. The wind and air as you run (even for us slow runners) works through the holes to cool the sponge. They stay very cool and damp for a long time. Run a string or shoe lace through one and put it around your neck, or a large safety pin also works. (I use this in addition to the bandana).

Paul Bonnett-Castillo

At WS100 last year I bought a wonderful bandana from a very nice women who also sold head bands and other things. The bandana has chamois sewed in to it to hold water longer and you can also add ice to it to stay very cool. It has worked great for me in several races and training runs in AZ and CA. The phone # is 831-761-3363.

Jennifer Aviles

Having had my share of falls over the years, I can say that most of the time there wasn't any time to stop and think about technique. It's amazing that I haven't broken a collar bone given that most of my falls have been forward onto my hands and once, on my stomach, when I tripped and slid on the ice into a jojoba bush. But what really helped one time was a simple bandana and I think everyone should wear one or attach one to the water pack or whatever. In my case, I was flying along and my toe caught on a water break. As I fell, my hands were out in front of me and took the brunt of the fall (as they did on the Esperero trail in March yielding nasty scrapes).

However, in the earlier fall I ended up with eight stitches in the palm of my left hand and a lot of blood before that all over my hand, my arm, and my clothes since a sharp edged rock ripped open my palm and severed a vein. Enrique saved the day because he was wearing a bandana. He folded my palm by asking me to touch my little finger to my thumb. He then wrapped the bandana around my hand to hold my palm in that position. The flowing blood stopped. We then had to run 7 miles back to the Sabino Canyon Trail head and then three miles down the road to the parking lot and our cars. From there we drove to the hospital where the pain deading injections hurt worse than the fall! but I now have two life lines on my palm, instead of one. The bandana and his presence quite certainly were a lifesaver for me.