At On the Run, we are great fans of the Spinoff’s definitive lists of foods.  And there is no better way to show your fandom than with a spot of plagiarism.  So, without further ado, we unveil the definitive list of running foods and drinks.

Ineligible: Running gels

This article is strictly about food and drink.

11. Salt tablets

Simon’s dad tells him that in the olden days they used to eat salt tablets. We’re not actually sure what a salt tablet is, but it sounds horrible.

10. Flat Coke

When you take the bubbles away and let it sit in the sun for a few hours you realise just how bad Coke tastes. 

9. Sports drinks

Why are they blue, or fluorescent yellow? It’s a simple recipe — sugar, water and salt.  So why do these drinks all come in colours that centuries of evolution tell us not to ingest? 

8. Chocolate milk

It takes real bravery to scull a bottle of chocolate milk during or immediately after a run.  And yet this is a favourite for a sizable minority of runners. 

7. Muesli Bars

All the necessary food groups are here, but these things are fiddly to deal with mid-race, come in non-recyclable packaging and end up stuck between your teeth.  When they come in a race goodies pack I usually eat them the day before the race rather than risk them on the day.

6. Coffee

I don’t drink coffee, but everyone else does. So let’s put it somewhere in the middle of the list to avoid controversy. 

5. Lolly snakes

A poor imitation of a jetplane. Stringy, just like a runner, but slithery, not like a runner. See jetplanes below. 

4. Bananas

A good, free banana at the end of a big race is sweet, sweet fuel to a poor long-distance runner.  However, the volunteers at the end of a half marathon aren’t always handing out the good bananas — they share the green ones and the bruised ones too. Worth the lottery though because a banana in the hand is better than a finisher’s medal as proof that you are a true runner.

3. Miso soup

The Sakai Friendship Association hands this salty warm goodness out in the frozen windy depths of Sky Stadium at the end of the Wellington Marathon. It’s a Japanese treat made for Wellington’s winter running conditions.  

2. Jam sandwiches

Jim Jones taught me this ‘old school’ trick.  White bread, no crusts, with jam, butter and maybe a sprinkle of salt.  You can roll it up into a little ball if you want and tuck it in your pocket. Easy to digest, easy to carry and full of all the energy goodness you need mid-run. 

1. Jetplanes

These little multi-coloured morsels are a regular at the top of windswept peaks during trail races.  I guess they are easy for the race marshall to transport. The confectionery company could have chosen any shape or form of transport to mould their jelly sweets into, so heartfelt thanks to the factory minion who opted for something that inspires us to swiftly fly onwards to the finish line.