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Photo credit: Active Root

Active Root


By Kate Allen

We were asked by Active Root if we’d like to test their products and knowing the difficulties many athletes have in taking on board fuel during an ultra, we jumped at the chance to try their products.


What they say

Great tasting, easy to digest drinks and gels that help keep you balanced, fuelled and hydrated during all forms of exercise.

Active Root contains a compound called gingerol which is a relative of the compounds found in chilli peppers and turmeric. It has been suggested that gingerol can contribute to soothing the stomach by relaxing the muscles in the gut, so that stomach contents are released into the small intestine. It may also have a calming effect, so it helps get rid of excess gas, thus reducing bloating and stomach discomfort. The ginger that Active Root uses has been specially selected because of its high gingerol ratio.”



One of our members, Spencer Millbery, is a very experienced ultra runner who regularly competes in 100 mile events. He suffered greatly during the Thames Path 100 in May and had to withdraw. Knowing he had the South Downs Way 100 coming up, RunUltra asked Spence to try Active Root to see if it could help him.


Going into SDW100 I knew nausea would be a problem as I had suffered badly in TP100 a few weeks earlier. I’d spent from miles 25 to 75 being seriously sick and not managing to keep solids down, which by 85 miles meant my race was over.

Kate from RunUltra had heard about this and hooked me up with a bundle from Active Root that specialises in ginger based hydration products. Just like clockwork at 37 miles into the race, the nausea kicked in. It was an extremely warm day and this really affected my stomach.

At the halfway point I’d stashed some Active Root green tea/ginger and peppermint/ginger sachets in my drop bag. I diluted them in 500ml of water and got through the 2 sachets over the next few miles. My stomach settled and I managed to get solids in again, and in doing so helped me finish my race. I’ll definitely use them again.


Active Root was formed by Edinburgh based sports enthusiasts Will Townsend and George Ashley. Will, a keen marathon runner, often complained that mainstream sports drinks upset his stomach during races. He knew there must be a better way of staying hydrated and energised without the accompanying side effects of nausea and stomach problems.

What really struck a chord with me was Will getting the idea that ginger is good for the stomach from his mother - I too remember my mother telling me to drink ginger beer if I had an upset tummy. 



There are three different types of Active Root product - Sports Drinks, Gel Mix & Electrolyte, under the headings “Balance, Fuel and Hydrate”. All help to keep the stomach behaving normally, but with varying amounts of fuel and hydration.

Both the sports drink and the electrolytes have an isotonic solution that uses either 400mg of sea salt, in the sports drink, or 800mg of salt, in the electrolyte mix.

Salt attracts fluid, so the more salt that's in your bloodstream (within the usage range above), the higher your blood volume. A higher blood volume decreases the amount of effort your heart has to do. As a result, it doesn’t have to beat as fast to move the same amount of blood through your body. The result is that exercise feels easier.

Find out more on Active Root’s website. All photos courtesy of Active Root.

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