The Darkness Of ‘The Nightjar’ 10k
On the evening of 15th September, 11 members of Sidmouth Running Club having dusted off and powered up their head touches stood poised, ready for a blast around The Pebble-bed Heathland of Woodbury Common and all under the cover of darkness. The Nightjar event was organised by Flying Fox Running with the venue for the start and finish being at Bicton Arena as access to the Common is very close.
The sun had gone down and darkness had taken over! The dogs were whimpering and barking in anticipation, their owners holding the four legged friends back. All were lined up, ready for what may come.
Nine human Mighty Green runners with one Canine runner named Freddie the crazy Lurcher opted for the shorter distance of five miles and two ladies taking on the full nine and a quarter miles. The long race competitors along with Janice Ranson and Susie Perry who has returned to running recently after a very serious injury were first away. The ever-so over excited and very noisy Muttley Crew were next to go off into the night. Jo Earlam battled it out with a large Alsatian who did not want to allow Freddie to pass! Then the five mile race was up and away. Antony Hall made a very nifty get away, Hamish Spence tried to follow, but was blocked in by a wall of runners for the first hundred yards, the other seven Mighty Greens used the beginning to get warmed up and they settled in to the run at a steady pace. Bert Dykema and Paula Farrand teamed up as did Terry Bewes, Laura Broughton, Julia Haddrell and Kat Hall
The routes were challenging with plenty of variety in terrain, very dry and dusty with the odd rut or pebble to avoid. We had moonlight for short spells, but it was very dark through the woodlands. The course was very well marked out with glow sticks and the water stops were well stocked with sweets and nibbles, with water being served in environmentally friendly paper cups.
For the five mile race Antony Hall was the first Mighty Green runner back. He came third over all with a very fast time of 35m:36s. Next in was Hamish Spence, who bagged 18th over all and a first over the line for age category (MV50) in 46m:02s. Next in came Paula Farrand, looking in good form and still laughing at running buddy Bert Dykema who had mistakenly headed back towards the carpark instead of the finish line.
Paula came 45th with a good time of 57m:46s and Bert who dropped a place, but still looked happy came 47th with a time of 58m:01s. Out of the darkness appeared The Gang of Four taking positions 57,58,59 and 60, in order of appearance was Kat Hall 1:02:17, Laura Broughton 1:02:28, Terry Bewes 1:02:30 and Julia Haddrell who smashed her own average times to get in on 1h:03m:15s. The first and only Sidmouth canine past the post was obviously Freddie very closely followed by owner Jo Earlam in 01:00:16, Freddie looked ready to go again. The two ladies taking on the long race did really well, Susie Perry flew around the course in an amazing 1:38:23 coming 27th, followed in very closely by Janice Ranson in 33rd position and a good timing of 1:44:21. Sidmouth Running Club excelled themselves in sending the biggest team to The Nightjar on the night and received a jug of sweets.