Racing in the Dark: Energizer Night Run
The last race I entered for 2012, the 10k Energizer Night Run (13 Oct 12) turned out to be a good one. Running at night is a completely different experience from running during the day. It requires more concentration and more effort to maintain both speed and footing. Much like trail running, you can’t let your mind wander or you’ll trip up and land flat on your face. However, it’s extremely fun to race at night and a great atmosphere that I would recommend to everyone. I had a good race and ended up placing 4th of 1031 runners and 1st in my age group (20-29) with a time of 36:45.
In its second annual iteration, the Energizer Night Run is one of the very rare night race events available anywhere. Why do you ask? I imagine it’s because it’s very difficult to manage and organize due to the lack of daylight, which complicates the massive undertaking it is just to organize a large race in the first place. A similar night race, The Phantom Run, in Quebec City, had to cancel its annual race after many years, I suppose for this very reason. It’s also much more difficult for runners as well as, I find anyways, you run slower in the dark despite the perceived equal effort when compared to daylight running. As such, I wouldn’t expect any personal best time or anything when participating in a night race.
The race was well organized and a lot of fun. The 10k flat course was a big loop around Vancouver’s Stanley Park and used a large part of the seawall. To help overcome the darkness, everyone was provided a LED headlamp as part of their race kit to wear during the race. While definitely necessary, I didn’t find it incredibly comfortable on my head so I ended up holding it in my hand for most of the race. Although I was out in front and didn’t see it, apparently it was quite the sight to see the long snake of lights running along the course. Pretty cool.
As for me, I was giving ‘er out in front. I issued a challenge out to some of my classmates that I would buy them dinner if “their finish time minus 10 min” beat my time. There was a couple guys I was pretty worried about beating me so I didn’t let up. It was pretty tough because it had been raining all day so the ground was wet and slippery. Also, I found myself completely alone for almost the entire race so it was a little bit harder to really push without that close side-by-side competition. Nonetheless, I gave everything I had and was surprised to place as high as I did. Especially completely winning my age group as usually there are very strong runners in the 20-29 group. I ended up not having to buy dinner either as my friend fell short by 45 seconds (47:30 versus 36:45). Good thing too. or I’d never hear the end of it! (Photo left: Posing with my 1st place medal)
Overall, it was an awesome race and I’m definitely going again next year. There are events in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver next year. Check it out.