16/11: Cardiff Run In The Dark!
My first night race! Despite having a few issues, I really enjoyed this one!
Run In The Dark is a global race 5/10k with 5 official locations: Dublin, Cork, Belfast, London and Manchester, with many ‘pop-up’ locations worldwide. Proceeds from the race go to the Mark Pollock Trust, which is a charity set up for funding research to battle paralysis. There main website is here: https://www.runinthedark.org/
Cardiff was one of the mini pop-up events. I think this was the second time it had been held in the city. The run was not officially timed: it was a fun run, so chill out! The routes were either a little over or under, with the 5k measuring as 5.28k and the 10k as 9.65k. I think most people were running this mainly for the experience of running across the Cardiff Bay barrage in the dark, so the times and distances weren’t really an issue.
I turned up at 7.30 for an 8pm start, and darkness had already fallen. I signed up and picked up my flashing arm light and glowsticks, and tried to keep warm. The race fee also included a ‘Run In The Dark’ buff, which great for keeping my ears warm. (Side note: why are they called ‘Buffs’? Seems an odd choice of name to me…)
I had signed up for the 5k race, many more runners had opted for the 10k. I’m glad I went for the shorter run as I had completed the Morunning 10k the Sunday before. The race organisers hadn’t specified the need to run with a head torch, but I was glad CDF Runner Stewart had lent me his. (I was glad for the buff too, it was a good head cushion for the torch straps.)
I didn’t take many photos, but here’s some snaps from me and CDF:
I really enjoyed the run. Once we were off, I was glad to get moving to get warm again. As it wasn’t a big group in the 5k I was on my own from about the half mile mark, but I enjoyed the solitude. (Running is possibly the only time I’m content to be alone…)
The 5k route was a simple out-and-back across the barrage. The barrage isn’t lit by street lamps, so when they say Run In The Dark, they ain’t kidding. The head torch came in handy. I found running in the dark to be very peaceful. The darkness makes you feel as though you’re running in a bubble, it’s just you, the sound of your breathing, the puff of your breath in the cold air. Once I was halfway across the barrage the sound of the sea permeated my bubble, and if I looked to my right the bright lights of the bay could be seen, mirrored in the water. It was tough work, but most of the run I was feeling good, concentrating on the even pace of my footfalls and deep but controlled breathing. I always wax poetic about that feeling in running when you feel your body is working hard, but in a good rhythm. As long as you keep that rhythm you can keep going. (You know, before the pain and grumpiness sets in.) I love that little window of feeling like your body is doing a good job of moving. I had that going across the barrage; it was nice.
The last half a mile was a bit more sticky and a lot less enlightened, but I managed to hang on until the end. some CDF runners had formed a little Cheer Squad near the Welsh Assembly. They clapped and hollered and rang a cow bell as I ran past.
There was no official finish line, so I ran down Roald Dahl Plas and asked the people at the registration tent “Is this the end?” to which they nodded and handed me a snack and a bottle of water. I went to meet the cheer squad and was delighted to find out I was the third lady back from the 5k. Another CDF runner had come in first lady, we’re such an awesome squad. I felt happy and cheered the other 5k-ers in, and waited a bit longer for the first of the 10k runners to arrive.
The 10k route was a full loop of the barrage, not an out-and-back, and reportedly had some problems. I’m not sure if it was down to lack of marshalls along the course or lack of high-vis signs, but the race organisers have noted this in the feedback of the race and I’m sure more will be done to signpost the route next year. However, it seems everyone made it back in one piece and for me it was one of the most enjoyable and unique races I’ve done this year.
Next time, I’ll take on the 10k.