Two medals and a mug

Race Review: Tunnel Vision Night & Dawn Runs

More firsts. First night run with head torch. First run at dawn on zero sleep. First mug of tea on the finish line.

Hosted by Race Harborough, the Tunnel Vision Night and Dawn runs are out and back 5 milers. Both routes take in the very long and very dark Oxendon Tunnel. The official blurb says:

“At 422m long, the old railway tunnel really is an imposing sight and pitch black. So we’ve decided to light it and provide a unique opportunity for you to run through it… and back again. The Dawn Run has the added bonus of a sunrise to enjoy too.”

I’ve always fancied a 24-hour trail race and thought the Tunnel Vision event would be a good way to see how much I can run on little sleep, as the timings and location would mean that I would be home in time to grab 5 or so hours on the sofa before heading back out. I was relegated to the sofa so that I didn’t disturb the kid and hubs when I headed back out at 5am, more on that later.

The night run nearly didn’t happen. Traffic and my determination to find a decent sandwich meant I only just arrived in time. Met some pals and got to the start line in as many day glo accessories as we could pinch off our fellow runners. Ice cold, pitch black, save for a line of head torches and fairy lights, we were off. We started at the back, and at the back we pretty much stayed. The blackness behind us when we glanced back was pretty freaky, but just added to the buzz. A two mile steady incline before the tunnel, which had been lit in places, and then an about-turn for a glorious downhill return. I felt absolutely alive, flying through the darkness towards the finish, a hot drink and a decent medal waiting for me.

Back home, I did not sleep. The kid had a cough. The kid cried for me all night. When my alarm went off at 430am, I wanted to weep. I nearly didn’t bother getting up, but am glad I did.

Picked up Kim, who had decided to enter the dawn race the previous evening, and we headed for Market Harborough. By the time we set off I was so cold I couldn’t feel my legs, but was rewarded with a view of the sky changing from black, to navy, to pink, to perfect blue. I hadn’t had time to eat anything and struggled with the run itself, but nobody was breaking any records. Another first, I was LAST. After collecting up another medal, a brew in my own mug and a slice of cake, I headed back home, for a roasting hot bath and a nap.

I loved this event, it encapsulated all of my favourites. Good friends, brilliant runners, something different, an excuse to make some new memories. I will be back next year to do it a bit quicker, of course, and maybe with more lights.

Thanks for reading…