Food At Events

I am doing some research to see what food & drink runners/athletes prefer to eat prior & post races.
I will declare my interest now - I own a catering service aimed at athletic/road races. Cheshire Organics is the only 100% organic catering unit in the UK offering a quality service with food including pasta, chilli, bacon butties, etc. I am a runner and know what I like to eat but I am interested to find out exactly what other runners eat and what you would like to see available at your race meeting.
Looking forward to your suggestions.


  • Home made fruit cake - can't beat it (well apart from bacon butties but you'e already got that covered)

    After the Bearbrook 10k there was a great snack bar run by the club with some excellent fruit cakes (so good we bought a load to take hope for lunch too).
  • Before a race: a decent meal 2-3 hours before, then just water.
    After a race: I'll be at the fruit cake stand with Nick. Something heavy on the easily absorbed carbs but with at least the illusion of being healthy. Also happy to settle for fresh or dried fruit, scones, and nice bread with jam, meat or cheese. I'm unlikely to want hot food for a couple of hours afterwards (although fresh soup would be nice on a cold day) but know plently of runners do sprint straight off the finishing line into the chippy.
  • I agree about the fruit cake, but it would have to be very moist so it went down well, and not too sticky like malt loaf so that you could talk to other people without having your teeth covered in bits! Other than that anything I eat after an event has to be moist and easy to eat.

    As for drink, good old tea is my favourite after an event. Not stewed and not lukewarm! Some cycling events allow riders a free cup of tea/coffee if they hand in their number at the tea-tent/wagon, to prove that they took part. That's always a nice thing to look forward to for the last miles of the race.

    The above may not be very helpful to you. I actually take my own food because I can't really afford to buy at the event.

  • Stella, hot pork pie and mushy peas please! (Did I mention Stella??)
  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭
    In the depths of winter a bowl of nice thick porridge with honey on it. And then another one.
  • Please please get yourself and your van to more events then, I'm tired of having my stomach turned by the smell of sub-factory standard burgers and chips. It's amazing how little competition or varity there is in fast food really. And I'm usually starving by the time I get to the race, let alone afterwards.

    Wish list: decent tea, water and juice as well as the cans of pop.
    'tearoom 'type cakes as suggested, flapjacks, banana bread, carrot cake etc.
    Proper soup, fresh sandwiches, rolls.
    Baked spuds with chilli, curry, veggie options.
    Pizza slices.

    There's a catering company I can't remember the name of that does hummus, greek salads, garlic mushrooms etc which are delicious and mean the kids actually get a decent lunch instead of aforementioned chips washed down with pop.
  • Fruit cake for me - or a nice flapjack. Big cup of tea - like a pint of tea goes down very well in hot or cold weather!
  • Saline drip. Usually puke after races and can't even handle water!
    Hot honeyed porridge sounds good though!
  • nothing, but nothing, beats a nice fresh cup of tea afterwards. Not stewed, NOT served in a polysterene cup and only with semi-skimmed milk. Before hand I agree with womble. Porridge and honey and maybe an apple. Afterwards bananas and cereal bars.

    Foe some reason organisers assume we all want to eat fried food !!I did the Kona 100 mountain bike race and they only had one food outlet for 1500 people (on the ride they actually ran out of food at the food stops) serving bacon butties if you could be bothered to queue, and they had packed up and gone when most people finished !

    Good luck. Nutrition is often forgotten about by us runners !
  • Oh yes, Pig Pen. I'd forgotten the importance of the cups! Absolutely NO polystyrene (spelling?). It ruins a nice cup of tea. Which should be served in pints as polabear says! Perhaps we should start taking our own mugs to races.

    Though while reading Lagerman's suggestions I did start to ponder on the alcohol preferences! But no, we have to get home afterwards!
  • Hey, dont knock fried bacon butties. Netherthong 10k (possibly the best 10k in the world, but no doubt thats another thread) does fantastic bacon butties.
  • One box of jaffa cakes with 2 pints of Stella are pretty tasty after a run (well, apart from the London Marathon - which requires a 5 course meal!)
    Sandwiches are always a must with heaps of mayonaise.....just to replace those lost calories (any excuse)!
  • oh thanks Katie, now the whole forum knows my spelling is And I'm an Engineer so you think polystyrene would come naturally !! (or there again maybe it's because i'm an Engineer..!!)

    Where is that pesky spell check key when you need it !
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Pre run, the best I've ever had was home-made banana bread - yum.

    Immediately after a race, I usually crave a bowl of rice crispies, with a sprinkle of sugar and nice cold semi-skimmed. Pasta is great, but only after lots of fluids and a hot bath. I certainly couldn't face a burger or a sandwich/roll with a heavy filling.

    Chocolate crispy cakes as a treat would be nice.

  • sorry Pig Pen - I didn't mean anything!!!
  • that's ok Katie, I forglive you.

    oh bugger !
  • For me it has to be vegetarian. That limits the choice a bit. However, after the race a banana and scone, muffin or flapjack. I prefer low fat/high carbohydrate foods. I avoid chocolate etc. since the blood sugar goes sky-high but then falls like a stone very soon afterwards leaving me in a worse state.

    I do not eat at races before the start since I need to eat about 120/90 minutes before the start.
  • Gin and tonic
  • I should have mentioned that Sainsbury's low fat custard is my best food for recovery!
  • There seems to be more consensus on this thread than I'ev ever seen in a group of runners. So if we all want to eat porridge and fruit cake and bananas and drink tea and Stella (mine's coffee - weak, no milk, happy to drink it from a pint glass, don't mind instant as long as it's not powdered), post-race catering should be a great market to be in.

    Must admit, post-GNR I thought the smells wafting from the burger stands were gorgeous. And I don't even like burgers.
  • Thanks everyone for the responses so far your comments have been noted with interest.

    Looks like fruit cake is an absolute must in future, good tea we always have (in paper based cups you might like to know Laura), porridge is an interesting one - might give that a go, fresh fruit is always available.

    Keep them coming.

  • I forgot! The events run by the Long Distance Walking Association (also open to runners btw) always have little bowls of rice pudding with tinned sliced peaches, slips down so easily...
  • Everything LauraL has suggested so far has had my mouth watering, but another essential must be ice cold sports drink. I seem to spend hours after every race trying to get something other than warm water to drink, and ending up with warm, fizzy cooldrink - yuk!!! It's not as if we can take our own, it wouldn't stay cold.
  • Cold drinks are a problems ratcatcher - in as much as its difficult to keep chilled all that you need to keep chilled.
    What kind of sports drink would you like?
    At home I make myself a soya based banana & peanut "milkshake" as a recovery drink. Anyone fancy a fresh shake after a race?
  • Mmm, yes!
  • Forgot to say yes, also, to soya milk rather than cows.
  • My favourite post-race drink is Lucozade Sport - the colder the better. Failing that I will go for any other sports drink, and failing even that any fruit juice. When I am feeling thirsty after a race I would rather go without than have a warm drink (apart from those that should be warm) because it just seems to worsen the thirst.
  • Dont wish to be party-pooper but wouldnt a chilled drink upset your stomach too soon after a race?
  • No, should it? I would kill for a cold drink after most races.
  • Toasted teacakes with butter - not very healthy but there's nothing like them when you've just finished a long cold wet run. They go very well with hot chocolate.
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