I want you to picture the scene
A man arrives home from work after a long and very exhausting drive, knowing he has promised himself a run that night, he pulls on his running gear - full length tights and long sleeved top because it’s quite cool now –“I’m Going to be out for bit longer, about an hour and a half” he says…. “Be careful it’s getting darker out there” the reply drifts off as he sticks a podcast on.
At 7pm he steps out onto his usual 5 minute warm up – then hits the pavements & catches himself thinking it’s not too bad & still quite light. You see him dropping down onto the towpath – still pretty light & easy to see where he is going.
Next comes the long straight, even the overhanging trees & the tall undergrowth don’t put him off. When he gets under the first of 2 bridges, the canal starts to cut through the wood – not too much difference, he can still see the path.
By the 2nd bridge, the wood gets denser, a lot darker as he looks to the left into the pitch black & cannot see anything other than the shadows. Maybe that is where these panthers are lurking, he remembers hearing something about finding panthers when you are out running.
Then eyes forward focussing on the run – at the 3rd beep that 3km done – “Come on FatLad! 12 more minutes before a walk”… head down, ploughing on as it gets ever darker .… fourth beep that 4k sorted, then the fifth & he is at 5k so time to ease off.
A brief opening in the trees gives some much needed light to retie the shoe lace and start a quick walk – 3 minutes is all he allows. Turning on his heels heading back into the darkness.
5.5k done – and a feint glimmer of light comes from behind him. A quick glance over his shoulder but he can’t see anything….
6k done - something is definitely following him….
6.5k done & Just the vague silhouette of the bridge in front, he pauses and turns to look, clearly a light coming from way back. Under the bridge and carries on through the darkness….
7.5k - The light now getting brighter & stronger, a brilliant blueish white light – getting closer, but in total silence….
8k – what ever this thing is, it’s right behind him now & he cannot get away from it, he sees the long skinny legs of his shadow starting to pound into the tarmac of the towpath – he is reminded of the scene in Close Encounters where the aliens descend the entry ramp – long skinny shadows from the bright lights behind….
8.25k – they’re not going to get me – they’re never going to beat me – “Come on FatLat run faster”….
8.5k – they are right on him, his energy is zapped & it’s too late, It’s all over, the lights were so bright but he realises that it’s pointless putting it off – turns to face them, arms held wide in surrender….
……. 4 frikkin mountain bikers, their helmet torches & handlebar torches all set to full beam, as they trundled past – no wonder he could out run them – but he carried on following them using their lights for the last 0.5k …..
And the morale of this run ….. get yourself your own head torch – it’s getting dark out there!!