"I put my total support behind HydraPouch!"

Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway

Olympic marathoner, best selling author, "America's Coach"

"The most important features of the HydraPour valve are its one-handed operation and its speed. They're what make it possible for a runner to fill their container without stopping, and in most cases without even breaking stride."

Frequently Asked Questions about Cup-Free Racing


Q: Why did my race organizer refer me to this website?

Q: What is “Cup-Free Racing”?

Q: What's the difference between a Cup-Free race and a race that encourages Cup-Free racing?

Q: How will Cup-Free Racing improve my race?

Q: What's a HydraPour high-speed dispensing valve?

Q: What’s a HydraPouch personal hydrator?

Q: Do I have to use a HydraPouch personal hydrator with HydraPour-equipped dispensers?

Q: What types of containers can a HydraPour-equipped dispenser fill?

Q: How can I purchase a HydraPouch personal hydrator?

Q: How can I find out if a race I’m interested in running supports Cup-Free Racing by providing HydraPour-equipped dispensers at the aid stations?

Q: What do I do if I lose my refillable container in a completely Cup-Free Race?

Q: I’ve never heard of a Cup-Free Race. Is this a new thing?

Q: Will the HydraPour-equipped dispensers slow me down?

Q: Sometimes there's a line of people waiting for paper cups. Won't there be a similar line of people at the HydraPour-equipped dispensers?


Q: Why did my race organizer refer me to this website?

A: If your race organizer referred you to this website, it’s because they will be supporting Cup-Free Racing in their event. That means they will have HydraPour-equipped dispensers available on their race course that will allow you to race without the mess and frustration of paper cups. You’ll be able to get your hydration products faster and consume them more comfortably and effectively, so you’ll have a better race, and you’ll be reducing litter and waste while improving safety.


Q: What is “Cup-Free Racing”?

A: “Cup-Free Racing” means completing your road or trail race without using any paper or plastic cups. You’ll still be hydrating – probably more effectively and comfortably than with cups – but you’ll be using a refillable container like the HydraPouch or your favorite hydration belt or water bottle, and you’ll refill it at the aid stations from the super-fast HydraPour high-speed dispensing valve.


Q: What's the difference between a Cup-Free race and a race that encourages Cup-Free racing?

A: In a race that encourages Cup-Free racing, the race organizer will have both HydraPour-equipped high-speed dispensers and paper cups at their aid stations, so you can race Cup-Free if you want to but you don't have to. In a Cup-Free race, all of the participants drink out of their own containers, so all of the waste, mess, and safety problems of cups are eliminated.


Q: How will Cup-Free Racing improve my race?

A: Mostly, Cup-Free Racing is about improving your race hydration and improving safety for all runners at aid stations. Because you'll be drinking out of refillable containers like the HydraPouch that work far better than paper cups, you'll be able to carry your drink farther, get more in you instead of on you, and sip more comfortably instead of gulping and splashing. Also, you and others who are racing cup-free will be reducing paper cup litter, so there will be fewer cups to slip on and aid station safety will be improved. You'll be able to refill at the HydraPour-equipped dispensers, which will be more efficient and less crowded than the paper-cup laden tables. Finally, you'll be reducing waste and doing something really meaningful for the environment.


Q: What's a HydraPour high-speed dispensing valve?

A: The HydraPour high-speed dispensing valve is a patent-pending valve designed specifically for use by runners at race aid stations. It fits all common beverage dispensers, fills any container a runner wants to carry, is operated by one hand, and is so fast you can grab six ounces of liquid without stopping or (for most people) even slowing down. Click here or click on the HydraPour tab at the upper left corner of this page to go to the HydraPour website and learn more.


Q: What’s a HydraPouch personal hydrator?

A: The HydraPouch personal hydrator is a patented personal hydration device designed to significantly improve the comfort and effectiveness of race hydration in every race you run. It eliminates the splashing, spilling, gulping, and frustration that comes with trying to drink from paper cups. It's light, easy to fill, and allows you to sip your aid station beverage cleanly and comfortably without breaking pace. Click here or click on the HydraPouch tab at the upper left corner of this page to go to the HydraPouch website and learn more.


Q: Do I have to use a HydraPouch personal hydrator with HydraPour-equipped dispensers?

A: No, a HydraPour-equipped dispenser will fill any refillable container you want to carry. However, most people prefer the HydraPouch because it’s the lightest, most comfortable, and most effective cup-free race hydration product on the market.


Q: What types of containers can a HydraPour-equipped dispenser fill?

A: HydraPour-equipped dispensers can fill HydraPouches or any other refillable container, including hydration belt flasks (Fuel Belt, Nathan, Amphipod, etc.), hand-held bottles, waist-pak bottles, disposable water bottles, or any other refillable container you might want to carry.


Q: How can I purchase a HydraPouch personal hydrator?

A: HydraPouches can be purchased online or at running specialty stores - for a list of our retailers click here. Additionally, many running clubs and training teams sell HydraPouches to their members or provide discounts and coupon codes - click here to see a partial list of clubs and teams we sponsor. If you don't see your club or team, and we'll get them in our sponsorship and discount program right away.


Q: How can I find out if a race I’m interested in running supports Cup-Free Racing by providing HydraPour-equipped dispensers at the aid stations?

A: First, check out our Cup-Free Racing Events page and you can see most of the upcoming Cup-Free races. If you don't see the race you're looking for, , or contact your race organizer and ask if they will be supporting Cup-Free Racing.


Q: What do I do if I lose my refillable container in a completely Cup-Free Race?

A: Most race directors provide some form of “lost container” drinking capability at their aid stations to handle this situation. You should check with your race director to see how they will be providing “lost container” hydration support at your event.


Q: I’ve never heard of a Cup-Free Race. Is this a new thing?

A: It isn’t new to ultra-marathoning trail runners – they’ve been racing with refillable backpacks and water bottles for years through parks and natural areas where littering is absolutely prohibited. However, until the introduction of the HydraPour high-speed dispensing valve and the HydraPouch personal hydrator it simply wasn’t possible in road races where large numbers of runners need to be served very quickly.


Q: Will the HydraPour-equipped dispensers slow me down?

A: HydraPour-equipped dispensers will fill a HydraPouch or other container with six ounces of water or sports drink in just one second. That’s less time than it takes most runners to get a paper or plastic cup at a cup-based aid station. Plus once you’ve filled your HydraPouch or other container you won’t have to slow down to drink out of it like most people do with cups.


Q: Sometimes there's a line of people waiting for paper cups. Won't there be a similar line of people at the HydraPour-equipped dispensers?

A: HydraPour-equipped dispensers are a lot faster than volunteers - each one can serve up to 30 runners per minute - so you'll get your drink quicker and be on your way. Plus, we work closely with race directors and organizers to ensure that they have more than enough HydraPour-equipped dispensers at each aid station to handle even the maximum traffic flow and drinking demand.