I suspec tthat compression socks/calf guarda re the best answer to vari veins. I'm not at all sure how they rekate to cramp, but can certainly contribute towards leg/ foot swelling, stripping operations seem to be falling into disrepute.
Well done for the fast parkrunners!- I've only done it about 3 times, and I'm far too slow to trouble the front end of the pack!
Interesting views on the GA/ MP/ recovery paces- Ive checked in the book, and the HR zones do overlap, but they suggest that you start your run at the bottom end of the HR range, to allow for drift, so the start points are different, I guess.
My recent marathons have all been run quite slowly, and perhaps the correct answer is that my "proper" MP is faster than I thought, 'cos I've not actually pushed the pace properly in a marathon for about 3 years ( my excsue being that I'm usually using the marathons as a trainig run for an Ultra).
Most folk eat "real food" , although a few use gels.
I think the best thing is to go with real food to start with- think of what you'd like at the end of a marathon- that's the logical thing to be eating after about 20 miles, as far as I can see- I go for flapjacks and percy pigs ( or Clif bar and shotblocks/ honey stinger sweets) to start with, then add in crsips/ chocolate milk after about 20 miles.
Eventually you might need to revert to gels if you gut decides it's had enough, but usually you are going slowly enough to manage to eat properly.
Soem people eat the strangest things- cold pizza, pepperami, fish n chips, etc- you really need to try out a few things on a very long run, and see how it goes, but be aware that late in the race, anything can happen!
At most ultras there is either a drop bag system, and when people go through, they leave behing whatever was not needed from their drop bags on a table, which you can just grab stuff from- so if you have a sudden craving, you might find something that suits you on the table.