Gato Sports Head Torch 10K – 23.1.19

Race Report by Brenda Lee

So 5pm on a Wednesday evening and Cal and I set off to the Head Torch 10K in Rugby. A change from our normal Wednesday training but we already knew that due to weather conditions, several groups had cancelled.

We arrived at the Race location and it was all very quiet. No problem parking. By now it was confirmed that all training groups were cancelled due to conditions so my thought was – what are we doing here, pitch black, minus 2 and 10k to run! I could only think that the little box on the application which read “To run this race you have to be a bit crazy” had been ticked!

Off we went to register and use the loo. All straight forward and no hassle. Bit by bit people gathered and there was a good, hard core, Massey attendance. The briefing began at 6.45 pm and we were lead down the zig zag path to the start. It was a lovely sight to see a line of head torches, and various other illuminated gadgets and clothing, making their way down the fairy light lit path.

The race started promptly at 7 pm and was an out and back twice race. This actually made complete sense for safety reasons and reducing the chance of anyone going the wrong way. The location was just like being on the Greenway so felt familiar. It was difficult to spot fellow Massey’s so not a lot of cheering going on but frequent exchanges of encouragement from fellow runners was appreciated.

It was cold and the ground was very icy in parts but as long as you accepted it wasn’t a PB course, it was more about the experience, then all would be fine.

There was a drinks station offering water and electrolytes and was maned by two lovely ladies who I believe would later on be serving the soup!

I had promised Cal I would stay with her mainly for safety reasons and after a day’s work I was happy to just complete and not compete. We focused on the hot chocolate and soup waiting at the end and to be honest the four laps passed quickly. The last lap was quite eerie though. Most people had finished so it was a long straight very dark path ahead. We were both convinced we heard “noises”!

Finally the fairy lights came into view and we knew we just had the zig zag path to conquer. At this point Cal encouraged me to go ahead so I decided to push myself up the path and get finished. What a mistake! Despite my best efforts of watching out for hazards I managed to catch my foot on a tree root and took a fall! No real damage done – other than pride and poor Cal having to have a horrible view of my rear end flying through the air!

Odd sort of finish as no “Finish” sign just the two gadgets doing the timing. However, greeted by a young lady who gave me my medal and buff.

The rest of the Massey family were there and we all tucked into hot drinks, lollipops and soup.

The positives – liked the briefing, encouraging people to support one another. The few marshals that were there were very nice. Loved the fairy lights, nice bling and buff. Registration and parking straight forward and soup at the end was very welcome.

The negatives – there definitely should have been a tail runner. The last person was quite a distance back and I, and others, were very concerned for her safety. More marshals needed especially at the bottom of the zig zag path. The hazards need to be marked better.

So did I enjoy it, yes, a different experience and as long as you don’t mind being cold and in the dark I would recommend this race. At a cost of £14 I think it was value for money. Be adventurous and give it a go!