Head torch running at night on the trails; fun or just wrong!?

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Lighter and brighter head torches allow us to run trails at night but is it socially acceptable to do so, or is there just something plain ‘wrong’ about it?

Prone to heavy breathing, lurking in dark places and have a fetish for Lycra?

Do you long for those long summer evenings running through beautiful countryside drenched in late golden sun? Can’t wait until the clocks change and the evenings draw out again? Well with the recent advances in LED and battery technology head torches have improved significantly (and gotten a lot cheaper). This now means you don’t have to wait for the summer to run those trails you love in the evenings after work. Head torches then seem like a logical solution to the problem, especially if you are prone to heavy breathing, lurking in dark places and have a fetish for Lycra?

But just because we can run trails at night is it socially acceptable to do so? When I started running I had problems trying to get my non-running friends to accept that running was a fun thing to do. “What you mean you actually do that for fun?” Now I have problems convincing my running friends that running at night with a head torch might be a fun thing to do too (those that haven’t already been converted to the ‘dark’ side that is).

But maybe they have a point?

In the news and films it is always dog walkers and joggers who end up finding the dead body in the morning. But how would you explain yourself at night? “well officer I was just out for a jog, in the pitch black, on my own, miles from anywhere… honestly, I’m quite normal… oh, what are those handcuffs for?”. This was a trail of thought that ran through my mind a few nights ago. Could I actually explain what I was doing to the police and not be arrested or sectioned? Some more logical pondering later and I also realized that in that news/film scenario it was the dark of night that was used to commit the murder or dump the body… why else would you be in a remote location in the pitch black at night?

So is it socially acceptable and more worryingly who else might you meet out on the trail during your run?

Well so far apart from the occasional startled looking dog walker I haven’t met any serial killers and you really do get a different feel for the environment around you at night. Sounds, smells and lights are all amplified in the dark and without having to go far (my trails are never more than a mile from roads or houses) you can get a real feeling of adventure even on a short run.

Is it socially acceptable? In a group definitely. A head torch run can be great fun and sociable. On your own? You may be in danger of giving off a loner, serial killer vibe. But once you get close and people see your running gear – they breath a sigh of relief and say “oh don’t worry it’s just some idiot out for a run!”.

… and the views are surprisingly good for the night so you can even take your camera:


…just make sure you can explain to the police officer what you were doing when you come out from the dark undergrowth hot and sweaty with a camera in your hand!


2 thoughts on “Head torch running at night on the trails; fun or just wrong!?

    • You might terrify them more! I have startled a few dog walkers that way. I freak out about meeting groups of drunks or druggies in the woods. But its never happened yet. A friend of mine commented on Facebook that they once got caught in the middle of a land and sea search and rescue on the coast path while running at night. The police were suspicious but let her carry on.

      Liked by 1 person

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