Trail running at night – don’t be afraid!
I’m alert, senses heightened to the sounds and smells around me: an owl hoots away to my left, I notice the musky scent of fox and the damp, earthy smell of the newly fallen, autumn leaves. Emerging from the trees my eyes are drawn to the faint afterglow of sunset just visible on the western horizon whilst away to the east the moon, big and bright is rising from behind the hill into a small, thin patch of wispy cloud. This is night running!
A small group of us are making the most of the darker evenings, just because it’s dark doesn’t mean you can’t run off road! Before the moon has chance to rise we turn our head torches off and look up. Almost all of the day’s cloud has dispersed and as we adjust to the darkness stars come out before our eyes. We take a few moments to share our knowledge of the various constellations before turning the torches back on and continuing on our nocturnal adventure.
Back into the woods and several pairs of bright, pinpoints of light appear before us – we are being watched! But we have bravery in numbers and as we get closer the sheep look at us with curiosity as if to wonder what we are doing out after dark.
Dropping down to the stream we notice the temperature change, our breath steams and a thin mist is just beginning to form in the colder air. Our ears deceive us, the stream sounds like a torrent when in fact it is barely shin deep. We don’t talk, the sounds of nature are enough: the stream, the snap of a twig underfoot, our breathing and our footfalls on the soft earth.
Climbing back up to the moor we snake our way along the ancient hollow-way, cut out hundreds of years ago when men toiled to make a living from this land. As we emerge we turn around and see the moon again, risen now and casting its silvery light on the landscape.
We head back to the road, to our cars, to our homes, but we will return to the wonderful landscape and to the magic of trail running at night.