Ultra running after mastectomies and implant reconstruction

Hi there,

I am a keen ultra runner and am trying to get back to it following surgery and need to work out how to carry a race pack/ rucksack without putting pressure on my chest.  I have a winter race in December and so will need to carry quite a lot of kit.  All my packs have chest straps but the surgeon said i should avoid that for 18 months due to healing times and risk of capsular contracture.  Does anyone have any experience of and advice about ultra running and race packs following implant reconstructions?  

Many thanks

Sarah x

Hi @SazzaB , wow, ultra running! How long is your ultra? I know some can go up the 100km mark; maybe even longer!

I have not taken part in any ultras - the closest I got was some marathons, and I found belts very useful. I have a Flipbelt (flipbelt.co.uk/)) which can hold my phone and five running gels, and maybe even a sixth if I needed to. Before I bought one, I walked into a running shop and asked whether I could put it on, and whether I could stuff in some gels to see how many would fit - the staff had no difficulty with me doing this.

Depending on the distance of your ultra, you may need to carry more items. Perhaps you can try the same strategy of seeing whether what you need fits in a belt before you buy.

I hope someone with ultra running experience sees your post and replies with their experiences. If you’d like to speak to one of our nurses about this, you can call us on freephone 0808 800 6000 (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; Sat 9am-1pm).

Or if you wish you can post a question in our Ask Our Nurses board, and you can even attach a photo of the race pack you currently wear for our nurses to see.

Sending our best wishes


Hhm I wonder if you could ask Nicky Spinks - don’t know how active she is on social media but she’s on Twitter so you could give it a shot. Liz O’Riordan (liz.oriordan.co.uk/) did triathlon (and is also a breast surgeon) so you could see if she has info or connections - I’ve emailed her in the past and she’s replied. I’d also try ultra forums etc if you haven’t already as I expect there are more people on there who’ve had breast cancer than there are people on here who’ve done ultras if you see what I mean.

I only had a mastectomy and no re-con so I can’t give best advice. Have done three Halfs since my diagnosis in 2020 with an ordinary camelbak which has been fine, but I realise your circumstances are bit different. I am still struggling to get any pace back but I can grind out distances if I’m in the right mood. Hope things are going well for you.