Saturday, 11 November 2017

Very dark and very, very scary

The Central Bedfordshire Council office where I work is, unusually, in the countryside and so any winter runs after work will be in the dark.  I've done a few night time runs by running down into Shefford, a nearby town or simply going to the gym and pounding the treadmill.

And so a few days ago I decided to dust off my head torch and have a run in the dark.  It was very dark and ver, very scary at times.  As I was running through the nearby Campton Plantation I was paying attention to any tree roots or anything else which could trip me up.  My running form seemed a little different in almost running on tip toes and as light as I could to avoid tripping up.  With so many leaves falling and a mediocre head torch it was at times hard to see where the path was.

I ran through the woods and out on to the other side to pick up a footpath and follows the perimeter of the Chicksands military base.  I have run this route many times before and it's about 3 miles in total.  Three miles, by the way, is about the minimum distance worth running in my book.

The run around the edge of the base was fairly uneventful.  No squaddies saying "Evening Sa!" or off road cyclists or other runners.  I did wonder where I would attract any attention from the base's security staff who might be interested in this little light bobbing around in the countryside.  Thankfully no interest at all.  In fact I have no idea who they are (Army, Airforce etc) or what goes on in there. Sometimes when I drive into the Council's offices by the base's back entrance, there are armed soldiers around which can be unsettling.

What surprised me was how my senses just switched over to being more aware of the smells of the countryside.  I could smell an onion crop while running a path along the edge of a field which then added into the smell of damp soil.  Coming back through the woods brought a wealth of other smells from the trees, especially from the occasional pine tree.

At one point I glanced to my left and had quite a fright!  It was the sculpture of a monk-like figure you can see in the above photo.  I've passed this many times, along with the other sculptures dotted around the woods and yet I was still spooked by it.   It seemed to be in the wrong place, or more correctly, I wasn't where I thought I was! 

So like every other run, it was worthwhile and I never regret going for a run no matter how tough going it is or however horrible the weather is.

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