I’ve run this event three years in a row now! I’ve raced many times in Haldon Forest but at night it’s a whole different feeling. I’d highly recommend giving it a go. If you’re nervous, find someone to run with and experience it together.
The Kids Race
Before setting off on my 10k adventure, there was the Kids Race. The categories were under 8 (1k run)and 8-11 (2k run), so my daughter and I ran the 1k race. Chip timing was a new feature this year on all events. We stood in the middle of the pack near the start line, as I knew the older ones would fly off. It was lovely to see so many parents also taking part with their kids.
There was a fantastic countdown from 10 with everyone joining in! Off we went, and the first half was almost all on a downhill track. We took a left, which sent us into the woods and zigzagged our way back up. We managed to overtake quite a few people and as we got closer to the top, we watched the older kids turn left to do a second loop, for their 2k. We turned right, to head back toward the finish.
We only stopped once, for a quick walk, and she flew into the finish with a big smile in her face which was fantastic to see. We waited for the presentation and fantastic news – she was first female and received her first ever winning medal on the podium! She finished 11th overall- as you can tell I was very proud!
The Main Event (10km)
I had a 40 minute wait before I headed out for my 10k race. At the start line, three ladies were running with their dogs and were given a 5 second head start. I thought this was a great idea, as I didn’t have to try and get past the dogs until we hit the road and it was easy to pass. It sounded like Christmas as they were wearing bells to warn people they were there.
As we were going into the woods, down the track, I could see a head torch not far behind me. As I looked to my right, I could see all the lights from the city far away across the hills, which looked lovely. I took a left hand turn which took me almost back on myself up a hill. I could see all the different head torches snaking the path I’d just taken, it was such a strange feeling to see.
I tried to get a gap because I knew there were going to be some steep hills coming up. I crossed the road and down one of the hills where a deer ran right in front of me -luckily missing me. It certainly made me jump!! I out ran it (joke) and got to the 5k-10k split and took a right which went down and down and down (a massive thank you to all the volunteers out there- the only problem I found, when they looked at me with their head torches it was hard to see). As I got to the bottom and took a right, I couldn’t see the head torches behind me and I had some lovely big uphills before rejoining the track we were on originally and headed back to the splits- this time taking the 5k route to the finish. On the way there, my head torch battery was running out and went onto dim mode -so I had my fingers crossed it wouldn’t turn off- as at this point it was pretty dark in the woods! I ran up the final hill and as I ran into the finish, I did a lovely big jump and was very happy.
1st back in 41:22 ? 2 1/2 minutes later, I could see to head torches heading for the finish. I was waiting to see who it was- it was Pete Waumsley and Nikolajs Saulitis. It was very close but Pete got the 2nd place and a big hug from me. He had definitely worked hard, as he was a little wobbly on his feet. It wasn’t long before we had more and more people coming in. I got to chat to quite a few people. I picked up my 1st place wooden medal and a bottle of wine and went home to put the kids to bed- what a great evening!
Thank you Ben, Ceri and the whole team for a great event