Experience From - "Trail" Patty Wellington, Jane Coleman , Megan Samuels#1 , Megan Samuels#2 , Pat Wellington , Holly Neault-Zinzow

"Trail" Patty Wellington

Travis Bernritter writes:

"I don't mean to dredge up this subject again, but at the time that we talked about it I was more interested in the humor factor. If I remember right the outcome was that there was determined to be one "best bra" that you should buy. Can someone please let me know what that is, as Juliet is looking for more support than what she is currently getting with here sports bras."

I sent my previous letter to Runner's World regarding their Sports Bra review directly to Travis, thinking printing this again on the list would be overkill; But what the heck, this is important stuff.

I have a Taurean temper which I try to keep under control most of the time, so I didn't make comments on the January 1997 issue of Runner's World in which they printed two --cutesy-- letters from women thanking them for their review of sports bras, including one from a --first time reader of your magazine-- which tells you how long this woman has been running, but nothing about her running bra experience, if any. But, Travis, you just pushed my bra buttons again.

This is also the same issue of Runner's World with the cover showing a model who sometimes runs. Huh?! What, there aren't enough real women runners to put on the cover?#!*

I didn't expect Runner's World to print my rather long --factual--diatribe. I did, however, expect them to make a statement about the availability of the Road Runner Sports Support Top for C and D Cups--not necessarily acknowledging me, but something to the effect that women ultra runners have had excellent experience with this bra.

Silly me. I assumed that Runner's World was a running magazine dedicated to keeping running consumers informed regarding the latest in running apparel/equipment available. Not so. As Ron McBee so astutely noted (and I'm sorry, Ron, I can't remember exactly what you said) but the problem with Runner's World is you only get a review of products they are financially connected to in some way. I mean, why else would you quote a male donkey like Effraim Nathan, President of Lontex Corporation, who's been in the "intimate apparel business" for 26 years (ya mean like Victoria Secret--and remember the founder of Victoria Secret committed suicide not long ago) in an article on women's sports bras. Well, you will see his joke of a white bra advertised in Runner's World, that's why! There are several companies dedicated to women's sports apparel, none of which were mentioned in this article.

For those who are interested, following is my earlier letter to Runner's World, which, I might add, received no response.

I eagerly turned to the article entitled: "In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra" in the November issue of Runner's World only to be very disappointed. I feel it's important that I pass along my expertise is this area, so I wrote a letter with my thoughts regarding the article. Should be interesting to see if it gets printed.

Dear Runner's World:

In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra

I find it very strange that in an article entitled "In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra" you place an adjacent picture of a very thin woman who could probably get by with wearing a t-shirt and no bra. Secondly, this male person by the name of Effraim Nathan, president of Lontex Corporation, who's been in the "intimate apparel business" for 26 years, is quoted as follows:

(a) "Most women don't even know their size." Duh? What planet is this guy from? and (b)"Also, the best running bras should have at least 25 percent Lycra for a comfortable horizontal stretch. Anything less than that won't compress the breasts sufficiently." Wrong again! (See makeup of the "real" perfect sports bra outlined below.) Then the article lists the following as #4 under "Tried-and-True Tips: "If for some reason the seams of your favorite sports bra chafe your skin, try wearing the garment inside out so there are no rough edges." Are you kidding?! Has Eileen Portz-Shovlin , who wrote this article, even worn a sports bra? Wouldn't it have made more sense to talk to companies who specialize in making sports apparel for women?

As a 34C ultra runner, I've conducted by own research on sports bras after suffering from severe bra burn wearing the Action-Tech bra profiled in the article. I've kept the Ultra Internet list groups entertained this past year by discussing the issue of "Bra Burn and the Bounce Factor" in running 50Ks and 50 milers in depth. And, specifically, how the bounce factor relates to a B cup as opposed to a C cup over the looong run. This article failed to mention the critical fact for C and D cup support: Just because a bra says it "fits" C and D cups doesn't necessarily mean it "supports" C and D cups over the looong run.

Just when I thought I'd be applying Vaseline to key bra hot spots forever, I discovered the ROAD RUNNERS "C" AND "D" SUPPORT TOP. Since January I have run six 50Ks and two 50 milers with absolutely no bra burn wearing this bra. Women runners who are C and D cups need to know about this bra and it should be added to your report! And most important, it's attractive and comes in fashion colors such as jade, periwinkle, fuschia, purple and black!

Description: Molded Cups are made of a uniquely supportive fabric that reduces bounce. Smooth endless construction ends chafing. Comfortable racer back. All in a substantial 12-1/2 oz. blend of 90% Supplex/10% Lycra. Price: $24.99.

The key difference is the Road Runner "C" and "D" Support Top lining is soft and smooth and stays that way washing after washing and really wicks away moisture; whereas the Action-Tech Bra lining "balls up" after several washing's and doesn't wick away moisture as well. The Road Runner Bra is also cut just a little higher at the neckline and a little lower at the midriff, which I feel substantially contributes to NO CHAFING.

As far as the bras profiled in the article, the "Sweat It Out" Bra by Lontex Corporation is a joke, right? What woman is going to wear that "white" cross-your-heart straight jacket for any activity? And this is a sample product of the "intimate apparel" company whose president is quoted in this article...

Pat Wellington, who has moved on to duct tape now that she has found the ultrarunner's wonder bra.

Jane Coleman

"If I remember right the outcome was that there was determined to be one "best bra" that you should buy."

It all depends on who you ask, and how much support Juliet needs. Pat Wellington swears by the Road Runner Sports C and D sports top. I prefer the FROG (freedom of gravity) bra from Title 9 Sports, which I find more supportive and comfortable although the Road Runner Sports one is lined, which is very nice. They are both bras which give a lot of support, are suitable for small-backed large-breasted women, and can be worn without a shirt if you like.

Megan Samuels #1

Ah, my first post and it's something I know a great deal about. Bras.

Being a well endowed runner, from the onset of my running this physical attribute posed a difficult problem. I was so desperate that I was going to have a bra made, but while at the LA Marathon Expo in 1990, I came across what has been until this day the answer to my problem. Here in LA is a woman runner who manufactures running bras under the name "Support Team" Her first name is Christine and her company is located in Reseda CA., which is in the 818 area code and it is listed under "Support Team." You can also purchase her bras through Phidippedes Sports Center (818) 986-8686. They are beautifully designed (by a woman, for women) with soft but stable material, coolmax lining and adjustable straps. I know women with A cups to DD cups wearing this bra. She can also special make some. They cost about $40 with tax but well worth it. I wear a 36 C cup in my everyday bras, but wear the 36D in hers, so you need to go a size up (in a lot of cases)

I've tried lots of other bras, most have these funky, stretchy straps that are counter productive.

Megan Samuals #2

About bras, Pat and I have e-mailed back and forth about this. I bought the Frog Bra and all I had to do was put it on to know that I would be very unhappy in it. I could not breath. I also purchased the sport top bra which was better, however, it was still a little tight and I have to exchange it for a larger size. I'll update you when I get it.

After our run on Sunday (16 miles at Strawberry Peak in the San Gabriels) I was sitting with Pat DeVita whom some of you may know and her daughter Vicki whom many of you may know (she won AC a few years back) and we were having this same conversation. We were praising the Support Team Bra and since I had my specially made one on they wanted to see it. When I lifted my shirt they said, God you are big. (Yeah, give me a f***ing break) Duh! We all knew Christine who makes the bras, she's a runner herself and apparently she does not know how to market them.

I run with a group of mostly women. We call ourselves "The Ultra Ladies" and most of them wear the Support Team Bra. Maybe because we all live in LA where they are made.

Just like I'm always looking for a better shoe, I'm also always looking for a better bra. I'm keeping an open mind and await with great expectation the larger Support Top in the mail. It has potential and the colors are the real selling point for me. I also like the idea of the long bra that Pat describes and I will try it. But I got to say that this mail order thing is killing me. It cost a lot more to buy stuff mail order. You think shoes are expensive, try Shipping Handling on 2 bras!

Pat Wellington

Road Runner Sports has done it again! While I'm thrilled with Road Runner Sports "C and D" Support Top (which comes in jade, fuschia, periwinkle, purple or black), the spring 1997 catalog has a new RRS "Full Power Long Top" for full busted women. It's essentially the same bra as the "C and D" Support Top, but comes down to the waist (which is good for protecting the waist from water bottle pack strap burn). And it comes in more fabulous colors: ice blue, purple, teal, wine, yellow, navy, red, black, and, oh yes, even white!!

Description: Designed to give C and D-size cup women support during running and other high impact activities. Quick drying, breathable Supplex nylon shell with a Coolmax liner provides the ultimate in moisture management. (Absolutely true!) Sizes: 32C to 40DD...Price: $32.99

All I can say is Road Runner Sports has really done their homework in the Bra Department. Their Bra Research Team must be working overtime. I received my "Full Power Long Top" bra today, in red of course, and so far have only tested it by jumping up and down in my living room, but I can tell it's a winner.

Holly Neault-Zinzow

I will consider myself forewarned about the possibility of getting lost at Voyager. I plan to carry a laminated course map in my sports bra. Yes, I did say in my sports bra. I will let you women in on a secret carrying compartment I have used, ever since I gave up wearing a pack in races (stomach problems). Most of us that run a lot of ultras do have a little extra room in that sports bra, and after all, they do stretch. I found that I can fit a snack size ziplock with crackers, pretzels or boiled potatoes in the middle and extra small packets of sports drink powders or GU packets in the arm pit area. Warning! Do not place packets of GU in the middle of your sports bra. That little foil packet nearly gave me a mastectomy the last time I made this error! I have a nice scar from that one. Which brings to mind another idea for a post, "disfigured by ultras".

People will look at you a little strange when you are constantly pulling things in and out of your sports bra. But some men have confided in me that they are jealous of the extra carrying capacity I have. So that is my "ultra tip" for the day.