It’s getting close to Christmas, you out-of-shape, liver-spotted, weak-lunged freaks, and that means getting presents for that special someone in your life who is really into running.
Running again? Yes, running again. Running is cool. Everyone’s doing it: Johnny Marr, the angry bloke from Oasis, Austyn Gillette probably—literally everyone. You gotta check it out. Grow a moustache and pull on some sneakers, because running is good for your mind, body and soul, and in the year 2021, statistically at least one of those things is a little bit fucked up, so get into it. Here are some Christmas gift ideas for you or the runner in your life.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami: Running books totally, totally suck. They all take themselves too seriously and prattle on about ‘the journey’ and feeling the ‘flow state’ or whatever. When Hemmingway said ‘It is easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed,’ I actually spewed into my mouth, but most of the authors who have written running books think that was actually pretty cool. Yuck. The only running book worth a damn, as far as I can tell, is Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. It’s a decent book, and one I enjoyed reading years before I got into running. Now I run, it’s even better. Good Xmas present.
Ciele GoCap: For whatever reason, I was born with a massive head. Fortunately, it’s unnoticeable until I start trying on hats and passers-by say, ‘Goddamn, look at that boy’s big, fat head,’ and then a solitary tear runs down my cheek and I time it. My head is a bandaid-coloured watermelon, and the only company that makes cool, lightweight running hats to fit its hideous girth is Ciele. Lot’s of styles to choose from and they do a dope bucket hat too.
District Vision Sunglasses: I’m not at that stage where I want to run in shades yet, but my mate Sam is, and he loves his District sunnies. Super-lightweight, anti-fog UV protection for those long runs in the sun. If Santa hooked me up with these, I wouldn’t throw them back up the chimney.
Roark Tee: Adventure brand Roark’s run offering, Run Amok, is relatively new to the game, but it’s quality stuff and looks a hell of a lot better than most of the running attire available. It’s actually crazy how boring 99% of running gear is. Even Nike plays it super-safe with their colours and design. But Roark is having fun and making functional running gear that looks pretty cool, including this tie-dye tee from their new winter collection. Worth a look in for sure.
Garmin Forerunner: Why do you need a special running watch? Well, shit, dude, don’t you want to know how fast and how far you went? Otherwise, what’s the point? You gotta get the watch and sign up for Strava (a one-year Strava subscription is another good present) and then begin competing with your friends without acknowledging you’re actually competing. Garmin are running watch industry leaders, but I think most brands are pretty good. No running watch looks great, though, and you’d be lucky to find one with a face smaller than a dinner plate. I’d avoid getting an Apple Watch, particularly if you sweat a lot and don’t like the idea of licking and sucking the buttons to loosen up the encrusted sweat salt from your last run. Gross. The Garmin Forerunner is kinda the best all-round running watch if you want to track your progress and become a psychopath.
Satisfy Trail Shorts: Oh, now these are a goddamn treat. Because I work in publishing and get stuff for free sometimes (it’s called ‘cash for comment’), I have a pair of these shorts and they’re a dream come true: super-light, no chaffing, a little hook thing for your house key (where to put your keys is a major hassle when you start running), and—AND—they look rad. I love these shorts so much. If you’re reading this, Brice Partouche founder of Satisfy Running, please send more stuff. It’s all so good and I’m such a cheapskate.
Verde Remedy Muscle Balm: This stuff is unreal. If I get shin splints or achy-breaky anything, I rub some of this CBD ointment in before bed and wake up with brand new legs. It’s actually magical. Yes, if you like you can faff around with arnica cream and Deep Heat, but this is the shit if you want fast results. Tell them Crom sent you.
Balega Hidden Comfort No Show Socks: Socks are important, but sometimes I think the makers of running socks might be taking the piss with their prices. Personally, I just run in plain old Nike running socks. No bells, no whistles, no special padding, they’re just regular-ass socks. That said, these Balega socks look pretty comfy and the sad nerds who review socks are saying good things.
Shoes: Now it’s getting serious—the shoes. I recommend you buy that special someone who likes running a gift voucher for shoes. I wouldn’t dream of buying shoes for someone else because everyone who runs is a fussy weirdo when it comes to what’s on their feet. Take me for example. I’m hooked on a shoe they don’t even make anymore: the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2. I have to bid online to get them and they just keep getting more and more expensive (fuck you, Nike, just bring them back). I also like the look of some Hokas and certain shoes made by Brooks, but who knows what your runner friend likes. Go with a gift voucher at runningwarehouse.com or, if their Nike nerds go to the Nike website (running warehouse don’t sell Nike… Not ‘core’ enough I guess?).
Half Marathon/Marathon Entry: This is the coolest present you can get for someone who runs. It’s the gift that keeps giving forever. If they’ve never done a half or full marathon, paying for the entry into a race will force them to train for the event and discover new things about themselves—things like, Holy shit, I’m capable of running really, really long distances. The positive impact of this can’t be underrated. It feeds into all other areas of your life because you ain’t the same person anymore: now you’re someone who can run non-stop for 21/42 kilometres. That’s a huge deal. Who knew you could do that?! And if you can do that (you can, anyone can), what else can you do? What else can this miraculous human body show you? It’s fucking brilliant. Merry Christmas.