Unusual Gifts for Ultrarunners


The holidays are upon us, as I’m sure you’re aware. With the daily onslaught of flashy ads and catchy jingles, you’d have to live on a desert island not to notice (one without wifi, of course). The constant bombardment of sales pitches are usually reserved for an assortment of well-known products, like Vitamix blenders and Bowflex machines. But if you’re in search of something truly unexpected, the ultrarunning world has a few head-scratching curiosities worth a second glance.


While you’ll never get this device through airport security, the TheraGun is the perfect remedy for mid-race muscle tightness. Percussive therapy is every bit as unpleasant as it sounds, but the pummeling really works. The TheraGun essentially acts as a miniature jackhammer, delivering an amazing 40 blows per second. Imagine Bruce Lee going to work on your locked-up quads – that’s what you have here. Lightweight and rechargeable, it’s a portable karate black belt that belongs in every ass-kicking crew’s kit.

Ultra Pocket Hat

An ultrarunner can never have enough pockets, so why not get cerebral about it. The Ultra Pocket Hat has two conveniently located zipper pockets on either side of the head that can accommodate everything from energy gels to spare batteries. And if you want to look your best crossing the finish line, you can bring along a little hair gel and lipstick for a truly Instagram-worthy moment.

Japanese Rice Cube

Sticky rice is tonic for the gut during an ultra, especially when the stomach turns south. Rice balls are great, but they lack the structural integrity of rice cubes (at least according to the manufacturer). The Rice Cube is something akin to a miniature trash compactor. It produces firm, uniform blocks of white or brown rice that are perfect for taking on a run. And who knows, with enough cornstarch perhaps even a bowl of oatmeal can be made into a cohesive square of athletic biomass.


Nobody likes running out of juice midway through a long run – whether it’s your body or your devices. Ampy is a backup storage battery that transforms the kinetic energy from your motion into a source of power for your smartphone and wearables. Ergonomically designed to fit the contours of the body, the manufacturer claims it is lightweight and comfortable to wear. It’s also sweat-proof and dutifully delves out 1800mAh of power – enough to charge an iPhone 6. Just be careful, because if your hair starts to frizz it may have sprung a leak.


Engineered to hold up to 28 times their weight in snot, Snitten Snot Mittens will surely raise some eyebrows. The palm side is designed to soak up tears and the backside of the mitten for snot (i.e. farmer’s blow). No, I’m not making this up. Unfortunately, they’re not self-cleaning but they come in an attractive natural mucus color. Wringing them out after a run will thoroughly test your toughness and ability to withstand nausea.

So there you have it, some gift suggestions that will forever convince your family and friends that ultrarunners are indeed a different breed.


About Author

Named by TIME magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World,” Dean Karnazes is a passionate ultrarunner and extreme athlete. He’s run across the Sahara in 120-degree temperatures, and he’s run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions he’s run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. Dean has swum the San Francisco Bay, scaled mountains, bike raced for 24-hours straight, and surfed the gigantic waves off the coast of Northern California and Hawaii. He lives with his wife and family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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