Dodd Wood Head Torch Race

I am afraid of the dark.

So why I was taking part in a head torch run is beyond me.

Dodd Wood HT poster
But that is exactly what I found myself doing when the DH Runners boys were en-route to Dodd Wood near Keswick.

The idea behind this was that we would get in some vital training before taking part in the Adidas Thunder Run.

I don’t own a head torch so I had managed to bag a loaner from my cousin for the night.

Doing my best serial killer impression...
Doing my best serial killer impression…

It was a particularly cold evening so there was much deliberation on my part on what attire to wear. I eventually decided on a short sleeve tech top and leggings. The long sleeved top would have been the better option though as it was a little chilly on the arms. Luckily the new DH Runners tech tops had arrived so I ended up popping that on as well.

During the run brief we were told that it was a solid 4 mile ascent. Once we reached the top it was then a steep descent for the next mile where it started to flatten out a little towards the end. We were also told that the ground underfoot was a little slippy. I was starting to think this wasn’t one of my greatest ideas.

As a group we decided that we would stick together to get each other through it. Within a mile that had all gone to pot though. I went flying face first as my foot hit a rock and, by the time I had gotten up, the lads were merely a blip in the distance. Great!!!

The ascent wasn’t too bad but there were quite a lot of bits that I was just unable to run. My head torch wasn’t the greatest but there were plenty of people around with better ones to guide my way.
Once I reached the top it was all downhill from here. Unfortunately, a little way into the descent, my ankle gave way. I stopped immediately and held my leg off the ground for a little bit. I was worried that I had twisted it but as soon as I put my foot back down and put a little pressure on it I realised that I had only rolled the ankle. The guy in front of me and the woman behind both stopped to check I was ok and I told them that I’d be fine and that they should carry on. The downside of this was that, once they left me, I was alone. The people behind me were a little too far behind me at this point. A little way down I saw a sign that said ‘steep descent ahead’. At the bottom of that descent was a marshal who enquired if I was ok. The runners in front must have warned him that they thought I had twisted my ankle. Once he was satisfied that I was ok he told me where to go and that I wasn’t too far from the end.
The next part was a little worrying and a little disorientating. I couldn’t see much at this point and I was starting to get a little lost. I was supposed to be following the signs but I hadn’t seen one for a while. I didn’t know whether I was going the right way or not until I heard voices behind me. Some runners had caught up to me and their torches were dazzling. I decided that I would follow these runners to the end. Not much further down the way I started to hear cheers so I knew that I must have been close to the end at this point.

One final sprint to the finish line and it was all over.

The finish line
The finish line

I crossed the line and caught up with the rest of the lads. They had only crossed the line a few minutes beforehand so I wasn’t too far behind them.
“That was pretty grim.” I told them.

More training is going to be required before this Thunder Run I reckon. That, and I’d have to buy myself some trail shoes and a brighter head torch.

Did I mention that I was afraid of the dark?

For more info on Dodd Wood visit here:
I had a bit of time on my hands before my next race which was a 10k in Lorton near Cockermouth. So it was time to give the body a bit of rest and carry on with some maintenance runs.

At this point I’d like to have a minor rant. I’ve heard many runners lately bemoan the fact of other runners not acknowledging them while they are out running. I think it is purely a personal thing whether someone wants to acknowledge another runner or not. My personal stance is that I don’t generally acknowledge another runner unless I know them. I don’t acknowledge other walkers when I’m walking somewhere and I don’t acknowledge other cyclists when I’m out on the bike and the expectation isn’t there to do so either so why should running be any different? I’m usually in my own headspace anyway. For all I know the guy who just waved at me kicks cats or is mean to kids…I’d feel like a right idiot if I waved back and found that out afterwards. That doesn’t mean I’m not a friendly person but I just like to do my own thing when I’m out on my runs. There are also those runners who feel the need to say something to you as you run past. When I was training for the Chester Marathon I was out on one of my longer runs and, as I passed another runner, I heard a shout of “you’re going great, you’re nearly there.” First of all, I was only into my first mile and I still had another nineteen to go at least. Secondly, I was definitely not going great. While I appreciate the shout out sometimes it just happens to be at the most inappropriate times and can make you feel more pissed off than motivated.

Don’t get me started on arguments about runners listening to music…I’ll be here all day.

I’d be interested to know what other runners’ stance on this is though so I’ve added a poll.


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