OUTSIDE: Did you have any sponsors?
THOMPSON: Not at first. I was wearing a jersey with iron-on letters that said I NEED A SPONSOR on the front. The letters started peeling off after a few days, and I was looking pretty pitiful, I guess. A couple folks from The North Face started talking to me after my seventh marathon, in California, and by the 25th or 30th race I was wearing their gear.
How many pairs of shoes did you go through?
Eleven. I'm not brand-loyal. I'm much more an "If it feels good, I wear it" kind of guy. I wore four brands of shoesASICS, Mizuno, Brooks, and TNF. I thought it'd be easier on my body if I switched every day.
What about shorts?
Back in the day, everyone was wearing short-shorts, and that's what I likewhatever society says I have to wear not to get arrested. Now it's hard to find them in stores. But I drummed up four pairs of Hind [Performance, $28; hind.com]. They're superlight and dry quickly.
I wore only one brand of socks; they're called Balega [Enduro Lo Cut Pros, $10; balegasports.com]. I never really thought about them. I guess that's because there was nothing to noticethey were always down there just doing their job. They didn't slip down, like many do, and they've got great padding. And they were great at wicking moisture. I ran with dry feet the whole time.