Run In The Dark! 5k

16/11: Cardiff Run In The Dark!


the hi-vis CDF Runners group!

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:

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.



Sport Relief 5k!

PRE-BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT! I have set up a new Twitter account for all solely Grumpy Jogger related things. Please follow @grumpyjogger to keep updated with these blog posts, drawings of my fellow grumpy runners, and anything else I can possibly think of related to jogging.

20.03.2016 -SPORT RELIEF!

This was a very last minute, spur-of-the-moment run. I was suddenly free on Sunday so booked a place for myself and Rob on Friday for the 3 mile Sport Relief run. We set up a charity team page and through the wonderful generosity of our friends and family managed to raise just over £100! Which is truly awesome- thank you very very much, you wonderful folk.

WE INTERRUPT FOR SOME GRUMPY JOGGER NOSTALGIA: The Sport Relief Mile was the THE VERY FIRST running event I ever took part in, way back in 2002. My buddy Gaz joined me for a nice casual mile around Victoria Park in Bristol, and I will never forget five minutes before we started he ate a massive pasty from Greggs. What a guy. 


Rob pre-run. He doesn’t look that inspired.

Back to the present. The day was grey, chilly- perfect running conditions for someone who heats up like an overclocked kiln and can’t keep their temperature in control such as myself. Rob and I had decided that baggage was for fools so we went to the run without any bags or coats. It was worth it during the run, I wasn’t dying from overheating, but afterwards when I cooled down I was veeerrrrry cold. I demanded a Chai latte to keep me alive as we headed home.

The event was organised well, this was clearly not Sport Relief’s first rodeo. I liked how they split the runners into ‘waves’. I did a Race for Life a few years ago in Bute Park that was so over-crowded you were forced to walk the first half mile. This was a much better way of doing things. Though I was a little confused that the 1, 5 and 6 mile runners all set off at the same time, and no instructions were given as to how many laps we had to do. Maybe they did announce it beforehand but I didn’t hear it. I know it’s easy to tell the difference between 1 mile and 3 miles but what if some poor person who hadn’t run a mile before saw that people weren’t finishing on the first lap and ended up doing 2 or 3 laps? It would be a very British joggy thing to do, keep running to not make waves, and I bet someone did it!

I lost sight of my run bud Rob after the first half mile, so just concentrated on keeping a good pace for me. I have to mention the HERO lady I noticed was running alongside me from about 1.5 miles to the end. She really kept me going. She had awesome pigtails and a few tattoos, and a cool jogging outfit. Halfway through I was starting to struggle, so I made a deal with myself to keep up with her. I wonder if she made the same deal about me. We jogged next to each other for nearly quarter of an hour. In this time I believe we shared a special bond rooted in jog-pain, although we didn’t say a word or even look at each other.

I nudged in front of her right at the end, and when I hit the finish line I looked out for her to thank her for being my 5k coach, but you know what? SHE HAD DISAPPEARED. It turns out she was a ghost, a wandering spirit who had lost her way the previous Sport Relief and has been haunting Bute Park ever since. No, not really. This champion lady was actually doing the 6 mile race, so despite me battling tooth and nail to keep pace with her to finish my 5k, she was only halfway through her challenge when I was getting my sweet Sport Relief medal. Godspeed, that lady. You were my inspiration.

Apart from being really really really cold at the finish, there wasn’t that much to grump about this run. It was tough, I wheezed, I thought a lady was a ghost, I got cut up a bit by a dog. But overall it was pretty cool. I got a time of 29’40” (pretty cool) and Rob managed a 27’20” (whizz-city.)




2016’s 1st 5k in the Bay.

13.03.06 The Natwest Cymru 5k Fun Run

Actually showed up on the right day this time. (See previous post…)

Having burnt off some nervousness from preparing for and going to the run 24 hours earlier (doofus), this morning went off without a hitch. I was still a little nervous. I’m not sure why, as a 5k is not an unfamiliar distance to me by now, but you know, people everywhere cheering and being happy and healthy and doing fun runs during their weekends is a lot of new things to take in for me.

I went up to the registration tent, signed my name, collected my fetching 5k tee shirt and hung around for a bit. There was a warm up where the instructor went through a classic jog-on-the-spot, stretch-out-your-legs kind of routine. Then he told us to get into pairs and do some random warmup exercises. People paired off and I was suddenly, devastatingly, alone. This would have sent me back into traumatic P.E. flashbacks of being picked last and publicly shamed about my level of fitness… but then a lovely girl saw my distress and offered for me to join in as some kind of warm up third wheel. I was very grateful. Thanks to that most excellent person.


Warm up action shot. I’m in there somewhere.

Also, since it was a special run today, I got a PRE warm up selfie where I’m not looking that grumpy:


Grumpy Kate not looking that grumpy and Rob looking pretty sleepy.

Then, it’s time. 5K, GO!

Up along the barrage and back, which isn’t really a new route for me but one I hadn’t done in a while so was alright. Like most running newbies, I fell into the trap of keeping up with the group I was in so I ended up going a little bit faster than I should have during the first mile (I was aiming for 10’00” per mile but was going a little quicker) and as with most of my 5ks the pain really set in at the end of mile 2. But I was determined not to walk so I kept going.

Grumbles about the 5k, because THIS IS WHY I’M HERE:

  1. It actually wasn’t a 5k, according to my Nike+… it was more like 4.42. MY MEDAL IS A LIE.
  2. I got stuck behind a wobbly runner who couldn’t keep in a straight line… I had to overtake to avoid being crashed into but hey, a minor gripe. I know how hard it is to keep going forward when the joggy pain is looming large.
  3. Sometimes kids would sprint, overtake me, stop, walk, I would overtake them, they would sprint, overtake me, stop, walk, I would overtake them, on and on until I thought I was in an animation loop. It did however make me wonder if this was a legitimate technique to achieve a faster 5k time… like… an interval-ly way of doing things…

Then it was over, yes! I got a medal which made me feel special, and I also got a KitKat which was immediately eaten. Victory chocolate. Extra sweet.

Rob said that he “would be up for doing a 5k run event” which to my mind is a BINDING VERBAL CONTRACT ROB. YOU CAN’T ESCAPE IT.

Then there was nothing to do but head home, but not before posing for one last hero shot:


Also this is the last outing for my navy K-Swiss running shoes; trusty steeds who have seen me through probably 200 miles and 2 and a half years of jogging. Rest in peace my sweet princesses.