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In the Name of Research

Updated: Feb 22

Weirdos. The whole lot of us. Last year, Loco put a simple question out in to the social media universe; what is the weirdest food that you like to eat on a run or have eaten at an aid station? We knew we were in for a treat. Over 500 responses were offered to our query. It seems runners like to talk about food as much as they like to talk about their mileage, shoes and running/coffee/poop schedule.

From the massive list of bizarre foods that you all like to put down out on the trail, we chose a large handful of some of the more unique offerings to field test. There were a few things, like fresh buffalo milk (where does one procure such a thing) and garlic bread lasagna sandwich that would’ve been bomb to test out, but either for a lack of time or a total lack of where to find a momma buffalo, we had to skip over a few of the more enticing options.

We gathered a small group of our bravest (and most available) Loco runners and set out on our research mission. What did we hope to accomplish? 2 things: discover the magical, secret food that will fuel a runner for infinite miles while never, ever causing runner gut and, no barfing or gagging. Spoiler alert, we accomplished 1.5 of the 2. Keep reading to find out which ones!

Chef Sara and Loco RD Karey thought trying out a couple of these items' pre-run might be a decent-ish litmus test for a side experiment on how taste preference can change dramatically when working our bodies hard and sweating everything out. They went with Japanese bean cakes and Madeline cookies, dipped in salt.

To quote Chef Sara, regarding the chestnut flavored bean cakes, “I don’t want this in my mouth. I don’t want to swallow it”. Loco RD Karey went with the green tea bean cake and came up with this taste description: 1980s Mary Kay floral perfume, rolled in fish.

Of the Madeline’s dipped in salt, both agreed that it was going to be a contender for the Holy Grail of running food.

Alright, back to the mission, and the reason you are all here – the list and field test results. Don't forget to comment with which one you'd try! Here we go:

Japanese Bean Cakes (green tea, red bean, red bean & chestnut): All flavors are pretty dry when considering eating them during running. Red bean was the fave, with chestnut coming in second and green tea a hard no. It was decided that red bean would be pretty amazing dunked in coffee at mile 82 and would also solve the choking hazard one might face without liquid to lube the throat hole.

Snickles (if you don’t know what this is, you are doing it wrong): Pickles stuffed with snickers. So wrong, it’s right. We used baby dills, but you could go big and use the jumbo circus sized dills for a full meal. This was a definite yes. Pro Tip: Go heavy on the Snickers, unless you like your Snickles more pickle forward.

Bacon Wrapped Oreos

Absofreakinglutely. Hard yes. Do we even have to explain why? Every meat-eating runner should carry a stash of these in their vest to pull out anytime they need to level up to superhero status. Word of caution - carrying a stash while running may provide you with an opportunity to make friends with the local bears.

Peanut Butter & Cheeto Sandwich

Big fat universal no. In an attempt to make an improvement, and if there are zero other options available, use flaming hot Cheetos instead of the original flavor. It will still be the worst choice you make that day but, at least you won’t starve. Bring plenty of water.

Peanut Butter, Banana & Oreo Sandwich

To quote Julianne & Linda, “I’d eat it”. Good enough for us. Pro Tip: If overripe bananas make you throw up a little in your mouth, go with less ripe. We may or may not have failed the “no gagging” goal here.

Madeleines Dipped in Salt

Dare we say it? Holy Grail of amazing things to eat while running/aid stationing? Say what you want. We are unmovable. Madeleines are some sort of fast fueling wonder food. The sweet of the soft, moist cookie and the salty kick will bring you back to life, no matter how many times you died out on the course. Most options come individually wrapped, making it easy to put a couple in your pack, pouch or pocket, along with a little baggie of salt. If you want to get really crazy and possibly gain super-human powers, figure out how to cover it in peanut butter and dip it in oat milk. After you are done cleaning yourself up, you'll thank us.

Mac & cheese with Bacon Burrito

Unanimous yes. Even our vegetarian who ate it sans bacon thought it was a win. This franken-noodle burrito is super soft and easy to chew and get down, thanks to those mushy noodles and cheese sauce. The bacon seals the deal. While it could absolutely be taken with you and eaten mid-run, we ate it post run and there was almost nothing better - except for the very last item on this list.

Watermelon Dipped in Broth

Nope. No. No thank you. Watermelon is best cold. Broth is best hot. It's so confusing. Nobody wants hot watermelon so, cold melon and broth it was. The horror of this combination is difficult to explain but it was a little like munching on sweet, sandy ocean water, if sand came in giant Styrofoam like chunks.

Tikka Masala (chicken, potatoes,

red peppers, red curry-ish sauce)

Winner, winner, Tikka Masala dinner! Real food that tastes great and doesn't upset the tum-tum. Either way this was a surprising favorite. The only downside is that it wouldn't be very convenient to transport (even prepackaged, the weight is a lot for a running pack). That is why we are sending out hundreds of requests to aid stations everywhere, insisting they serve you all Tikka Masala. You're welcome.

A huge thank you to Linda L and Julianne W for coming out to field test these scrumptious runner treats and to everyone who helped compile the huge list of weird foods to choose from. May your tummies stay iron clad, and your taste buds tantalized!

There were so many submissions we couldn't possibly list them all here. We picked the most interesting and unusual and dropped them here! Scroll down to check out more of weird foods you all provided us via social media, texts and word of mouth.

Jay S, Trail & Ultra Running, FB

Patagucci mackerel in garlic and olive oil

Carol S, Trail & Ultra Running, FB

Buffalo Milk

Radka S, Trail & Ultra Running, FB

Cracklings spread

Kieran F, Bad UltraRunning Advice, FB

Garlic bread & lasagne sandwich

Karon Marie R, Portland Just Run, FB

Peanut butter smeared on Oreos

Jason B, Trail & Ultra Running, FB

Mashed potatoes & honey in the same Ziplock!

John M, Trail & Ultra Running, FB

Mashed potato tacos with guac.

Carrie B, S.O.R.E, FB

Cold cans of SpaghettiOs (per her dad who ran ultras in the 70s)

Jay N, Trail & Ultra Running, FB

Peanut Butter & Cheeto sandwich


Kathleen J, Trail & Ultra Running, FB

Frozen Banana Slices w/Chocolate Drizzle

Sarah H

Oreo peanut butter banana sandwiches

Teresa B, Trail & Ultra Running FB

Spekboom smoothie at a waterpoint ...which is a succulent in South Africa

Sue M, Southern Oregon Runners, FB

Raw Potatoes

Manie H, Bay Area Ultra Runners, FB

Watermelon dipped in broth

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