Run of the Month: St Anthony Head, Cornwall
Running off-road in stormy autumn weather can be really hard work. With the wind against…
Item: Montane Featherlite Marathon Jacket
Weight and size: 130g Men’s Medium
Type of test: Long-term (regular use for 12 months +)
Vital mountain running weather protection. Using the highest quality PERTEX® Microlight, which is showerproof, windproof and incredibly fast drying, the Featherlite™ Marathon is indispensable on fell runs, long mountain days or urban running in cool or damp weather. Featuring “Afterburner” vents which work as hard as you do to keep your core body temperature stable.
I’ve used Montane Featherlite jackets, trousers and smocks for many years for good reason. The fabric is good and the fit is great, they are simple, light and comfortable and provide decent wind and shower protection while remaining reasonably breathable. Despite the light weight fabric they have also proven to be well made and durable and they are excellent value compared with similar products on the market.
The marathon jacket has a full length zip which adds a bit of weight compared to the smock (an extra 25g in a men’s medium) but I like the extra ventilation it gives and it makes it easier to put on if you are wearing a helmet. I would use the smock if I was racing and needed to carry or wear a windproof but I would pick up the jacket for a training run.
Fabric and Features:
The jacket is predominantly made from Pertex Microlight Mini rip stock fabric which is surprisingly durable – I haven’t worn any out yet and they don’t seem to rip when I catch them on brambles while running. I have managed to make a small hole in the arm of one while climbing on granite but the rip stop is working as the hole has never got any bigger. It is highly water resistant but not waterproof – I tend to get wet shoulders after a few minutes of proper rain but the areas of the jacket that I don’t press against don’t normally get wet. The fabric is quite windproof though so even when I get a bit wet I don’t get cold. I find the fabric to be one of the more breathable windproof fabrics, I don’t find it clammy when I end up wearing it in conditions that I wouldn’t normally wear more than a base layer e.g. when it’s raining/cold when I start running and dries out or warms up later but I don’t have a bag to put it in. The underarm vents feel like they help this and I do notice the difference between my newer jacket and my old Featherlite that doesn’t have them.
The cut is good, quite slim which should suit most runners and reasonably long so that it doesn’t ride up under a back pack. There is a bike version of the jacket but I use my marathon jacket on the bike and I find the arms and back long enough. The elasticised cuffs create a good seal but can be pushed up my arms a bit to help keep me cool. The collar is snug when zipped to the top but not restrictive and I find it comfortable to run with the zip undone a bit without getting flapped with the end which sometimes happens on running jackets.
Would I race in it or with it?
I probably wouldn’t race in the jacket, it’s not categorised as waterproof so I can’t normally use it as races normally require a waterproof. When a windproof is acceptable I would take the smock version to save the extra few grams.
Overall this is a perfect lightweight jacket to use for warm-ups or when it’s a bit cool or breezy, or to take out on the hill in case I need an extra layer for minimal weight. It’s great for longer, steadier runs and multi-dayers too. It packs down to a minuscule size, disappearing into its own mesh bag complete with handy attachment carabiner.