OK so compared to the Himalayas, Battersea Park is perhaps not so impressive and, compared to the marathons and ultras that others have been doing, 5km definitely isn’t. However, no-one has written anything on here for absolutely ages and this event was quite good fun.
I spotted the poster for The Run in the Dark on the way to the track last week and it sounded quite interesting and fun. There were both 10km and 5km races, and there were races being run simultaneously in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Manchester. As the name suggests, the race was after dark and everyone in the race was given a flashy red LED armband.
For all the multiple venues etc it wasn’t all that slick in terms of set up. As a late register-er I had to pick up my pack on the day and when I did they’d run out of safety pins. Quite a few people had to run with their numbers in their pockets (not ideal when the chip is attached to the number). Luckily, I did have safety pins (uncharacteristically organised for me). It was also a bit late starting, which given it was so cold wasn’t brilliant. Presumably this also slightly did for the simultaneousness of the races in different cities, unless everyone set off late. However, once we got going it was actually quite a nice event.
I’m not sure why it was so enjoyable. I run in the dark quite a lot at this time of year (admittedly not usually in the park except on the track). However, there was something rather lovely about the stream of LED flashes. It felt a bit like a fastish moving procession and a little bit partyish. Also, there is something to be said about running a race on really familiar ground. It felt very much like home turf and I gave myself a little cheer every time I went past the track. Also because I was only doing the 5km, and because it in loops, I didn’t feel like I was running near the back, which can sometimes be a thing for a slow runner like me. The flip side of the loop set up is that I definitely got lapped. Ah well.
I hadn’t been able to check my time as I was going round (too dark), but as I got to the end I was a little disappointed with the time my stopwatch was saying. I was also a bit surprised because it did all feel like it was an ok run for me. However, I noticed a few 5k people looking at phones and plotting distances. Also they’d changed the route from last year and it did, on looking at the website, look a bit like they’d extended it, which seemed a bit odd. I’ve plotted the route on gmaps and I do think there was about an extra 1/2km or so. If I’m right, then my time wasn’t as rubbish as I’d first thought (probably actually about average for me – I’d like to go faster – perhaps I should actually do some parkruns).
So all in all an enjoyable event on home turf. It was fun, which was what appealed when I spotted the poster and so I got what I signed up for. However, it is one to take a GPS to if you are interested in times/distance, as well as possibly layers for the wait at the start and definitely some safety pins.