This cardinal rule was meant to be broken
Trail running, like all sports, has cardinal rules. For example: Thou shalt never don new apparel or use new gear on Race Day. ...
Illustration by Jeremy Collins
Trail running, like all sports, has cardinal rules. For example: Thou shalt never don new apparel or use new gear on Race Day. If it's a sin to violate these off-road commandments, then I will someday land in hell—or a Texas road race in July, which I imagine is the equivalent. I first broke the rule several years ago, and I've done it many times since.
It was at the 2001 Western States 100 that I decided a splash of yellow would perfectly complement my ensemble. Yellow is bright. It screams summer. And, as I learned when I wore brand-new, super-high-split-cut-yellow shorts, it also attracts bees. Considering all the stings I suffered that year, plus the poison oak rashes, 100 dusty, sweltering miles was surprisingly tolerable. I somehow ran a buckle-worthy time while being mistaken for a pollen-packed flower.
For those who wear the same putrid white top (with faded blood stains over the nipples), salt-encrusted cap and socks with threadbare Achilles, you're missing out. A fresh Race Day outfit can put cayenne pepper in your step or improve your chances of landing on the pages of Trail Runner (insider tip: photo editors love bright colors that explode off a page).