Wardian’s Picks

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Michael Wardian runs weird. It’s not that his gait is awkward, it’ the types of runs he likes to do. Wardian, 41, who lives in Arlington, Va., has owned the world record for fastest marathon while pushing a stroller, and the world record for fastest 50k on a treadmill. He set that record while on a cruise ship, after completing a spartan race. And last year, he won a marathon at the North Pole, which he ran in negative forty degree temps.

“I like to do things that seem like they’re fun and different,” Warden says. But he’s not just about running quirky events. A seasoned ultra-runner, Warden has won more marathons and ultras than we can count. He finished an astonishing 54 races in 2014, and competed on the U.S. National Team in the 50k and 100k distances. Oh, and he was chosen by USATF as the Master Ultra Runner of the year. Here are Wardian’s favorite pieces of gear in his own words.

1. Hoka One One Challenger

These are my go-to shoes for trails. There’s a ridiculous amount of cushion and they’re ridiculously light. A good, strong upper too. I was running with them even before I was sponsored by them. $130; hokaoneone.com


2. Nathan SpeedDraw Plus

This is an all around functional, kickass bottle. I use it for any kind of trail race that I have to carry water. Sometimes I’ll run with two. One for water, one for electrolytes. $18; nathansports.com


3. Race Dots

With these, you don’t have to put holes in your kits at races. I think it’s dumb to put a hole in a $100 racing shirt. $20 per four-pack; racedots.com

4. Nathan Elevation

This pack is a little bigger than their others, but I used it during a 30-hour race at Mont Blanc and became appreciative of the extra space. You can put a lot of stuff in it, but it doesn’t bounce around. It sits well on my shoulders and you can adjust it on the fly thanks to the toggles on the side. $150; nathansports.com


5. Julbo Cortina

These are old school but awesome. They’re good for running, or just kicking around. The price is reasonable, and the lenses are amazing. $70; julbousa.com

julbo cortina_FIX

6. Osprey Ace 50

Tired of carrying all of your kids’ gear? Ready for them to shoulder some of the load? The Osprey Ace 50 is a perfect combination of lightweight comfort and technical features for children ages 7 to 14. The 50-liter backpack weighs just under three pounds and has easy-to-adjust, comfy shoulder straps and a fit-on-the-fly hip belt. For beginner backpackers, the Ace 50 is a great fit. $160; ospreypacks.com


7. National Geographic Appalachian Trail Topographic Map Guides

The legendary A.T. now has an iconic series of trail map guides. For the first time, National Geographic has produced a definitive set of 13 Appalachian Trail topo map guides. Leave the clunky, heavy guidebook at home and carry this waterproof, tear-resistant map (with rust-resistant stainless steel staples) on your next A.T. excursion. They measure 4¼” x 9 x ¼” inches and fit inside a pocket or backpack pouch. Our wear-tester crumpled the map into a ball and stuffed it into his pocket for a few weeks, then threw it in the washing machine, and it still came out ready to use. Each map contains detailed mile markings, locations of springs, shelters, trailheads, camping areas, scenic views, and even the nearest showers and laundry stops. The northernmost sections are already available; the central sections (Massachusetts to Pennsylvania) roll out this month, and maps of the southern A.T. from Maryland to Georgia will be available in August. $14.95; natgeomaps.com


8. Olympia EX 320 Headlamp

The 230-lumen headlamp casts a strong cube of light that makes movement at night superior to cone-shaped light.  Light weight and water resistant, it was our wear-tester’s go-to headlamp for an night hiking adventure in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Powered by a white LED bulb, the headlamp has four lighting modes and comes equipped with focus control, allowing you to illuminate one particular spot or a cast a wider beam of light. $49.99 olympiaproducts.com



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