The art of sneaky pee

What do marathon runners do when they are running a race and nature calls? South African ultra-trail superstar Ryan Sandes gives his tips on how to relieve oneself while on the run...

American ultra-marathon legend Dean Karnazes taught me many things... including how to take a leak on the run.

It was during the "4 Deserts - Sahara race" in Egypt that I first noticed this particular skill of his - we were running and chatting along a fairly smooth gravel road, when I glanced sideways and noticed that he was not just running and talking to me, but running and talking to me and peeing. And no spillage either. What a pro! I wanted to be pro too and clearly if you wanted to be a pro, you had to pee on the run.

It took two years of fairly messy trial and error... but I finally mastered the "Art of the Sneaky Pee".

Here's how to do it.

Needless to say, this applies to men only. Obviously the key objective here is not to pee on yourself, and that means two crucial external factors that come into play: 1) wind direction; and 2) the nature of the terrain.

Pissing into the wind, metaphorically or physically, is never a good idea. If the wind is blowing, you definitely want it at your back.

Secondly, this is not something you want to attempt on uneven, rocky terrain. I do not even have to explain that one.

Once you have ascertained the wind direction and terrain, what you want to do is slow down a little, run slightly sort of sideways and - while making sure there are no runners on the side you have chosen - aim a confident and strong stream into the nearby vegetation. It is this last bit that is the most difficult.

Stage fright aside, physically it is quite hard to get whatever muscles control this body function to work while you are moving. Your body is so used to peeing when it is motionless so to do it while running, or even walking, requires practice.

Why runners should master the skill?

It does save you time. I probably need to pee three or four times during a 100-miler race and if a pee stop will take, say, 30 seconds, that's about two minutes you have lost over the race distance.

Plus, if you stop, it also gives your competitors the opportunity to suddenly put down the hammer and open up a gap. That's not something you want late in a race when catching up is always that much harder.

Credits - would like to thank You Magazine ( for the permission to reprint part of the article "This is how marathon runners have a sneaky pee during a race" by Jane V. This is an edited extract from "Trail Blazer, My Life As An Ultra-Distance Trail Runner" by Ryan Sandes with Steve Smith, published by Penguin Random House. Image by Glen Delman Photography.

Since September 7, 2007 - © Aerostato, Seattle - All Rights Reserved.

JOIN THE WORLDWIDE RUNNING NETWORK | | | | | | | | Maratone & Maratoneti | | | | | | | | |