During an ultra marathon, food and water intake is an important element that will decide the overall outcome of the run. Unlike running the marathon distance where we can rely basically on energy gels and water, in an ultra marathon where it can take up to more than 8 hours of running and unless you are a fast runner, solid food intake is required.
Back during my 84KM days, I relied heavily on energy gels and raisins. At last year's 100KM distance, gels came to a stop at the halfway point. It just won't go in anymore and small snacks like preserved fruits, fresh oranges and gummy candies help a lot. Some light solid food like muffins may help too but I still find raisins to be the best for me. Easy to consume, rich in nutrition to keep me going and don't cause any bowel movement, I trusted it since I found out 3 years back.
However, as Comrades Marathon is being held at another part of the globe, the food and water served will be different. Therefore, caution will be needed to make sure I won't end up running to the toilet. And for those who frequently run with me, you know about my weak gut. And the following is what I found out which will be continuing till next year's edition and this includes some aid included too:
Pepsi Cola, Mountain Dew and Mirinda - 38,000 litres
Water - 2,000,000 150ml sachets
Energade - 660,000 150ml sachets
Mega Load - 62,000 units
Energade Sports Jellies - 300kg
Bananas - 600 boxes
Oranges - 784 bags
Mageu Number 1 - 10,000 150ml sachets
Chocolates 1.2 tons
Biscuits - 800kg
Vaseline - 240 tubes
Sunscreen - 300 tubes 500ml
Arnica Ice - 600 tubes 500ml
Loobit - 600 tubes 500ml
Potatoes - 7 tons
I will say that the organising committee of the Comrades Marathon has really planned the amount near to perfection for the 18,0000 runners. And with the above total spread throughout the entire 89KM race course with stations appearing at approximately 2.5KM, we runners really have to watch out for over hydration instead.
I been practising on Pepsi on a few runs and I found that I'm facing difficulties with it. The recent run, drinking it with my favourite GU Roctane resulted in me running to the toilet. Therefore, there will be still some trial and error. However, based on the list above, there are some items which I have not heard of and therefore will play it safe by bringing some of my preferred and trusted food and aid. Consumption of energy gels will probably stop at the marathon distance and from there, will rely on GU Chomps as my supplementary glycogen and electrolytes intake while the solids will play their main role.