Into The Darkness Trail Race – Race Report

From the moment I signed up for this race, I was unsure of my decision. Don’t get me wrong, Mountain Junkies races are as good as it gets. But I do not like the dark, and by extension I do not like running in the woods in the dark. You can’t conquer something without facing it, though. Plus this race was supposed to be a lot of fun.

The race was 4 miles long and was held at Explore Park in Roanoke. The course was a mix of pavement, singletrack dirt trails, and grass trails. I got to the race about an hour before the start, picked up my shirt and bib, and hung out. I enjoyed seeing all of the runners walk around pre-race in their costumes.

Around 6:45 PM we gathered for a pre-race talk. It sounded like the race course was well marked (Mountain Junkies races always are) so I had no worries of getting lost. We mingled around before the start of the race at 7 PM.

The race was split into two waves, and I started with wave 2 at 7:10 PM. We immediately headed up a hill that’s lovingly nicknamed “vomit hill.” From there we headed into the woods and onto the trails. I wasn’t sure how I would feel, since I haven’t been running hills that much. But my legs felt strong as we ran along the rolling terrain.

I was running in a line of people that was slightly spread out. Because it was dark, I ran along without much concept of when we were going uphill or how big the hills were. I was cautious on the downhills, though, since parts of the course were pretty slick with clay-type mud.

Since this was a halloween-themed race, there were lots of little surprises for us hidden in the woods. There were motion-activated noise makers that howled and there were lots of flashing decorations. I was having fun and never once did I wish for the race to be over (which has always been my past experience when running in the dark). Before I knew it, we were already on the last mile.

It flattened out a bit and I picked up my pace, which felt good. I ran strong up the final hill, looped around the village area, and made my way to the finish line. I didn’t know what to expect for this race, but I finished in 56:10 which I’m happy with.

There was a post-race feast for the race participants. They were serving delicious pasta with marinara sauce, veggies and crackers with hummus, homemade granola and pumpkin bread. I enjoyed some dinner, and hung out with a few friends to watch the awards ceremony. Overall, I had a great time and look forward to doing this race again in years to come!

2 Comments

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  1. Sounds like a fun race and not too long for being out there in the dark, unlike Ragnar as a crazy ultra runner! 🙂
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…It’s Time For Another Birthday Letter To MyselfMy Profile

  2. Beware of the floating hand of death. Yo just never know when or where it may return.

    LUD.

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