With the shortest day of the year almost upon us, running has become a quasi nocturnal pursuit. With that in mind we asked ultra endurance athlete and avid night runner Chris Bergland for his tips on staying safe.
Stay Visible. “The first thing that comes to mind is [Badwater race director] Chris Kostman’s line: ‘Light yourself up like a Christmas tree,’” says Bergland. “Wear tonnes of reflective gear and blinking lights.” (See right.) Reflective strips on your arms and legs are more effective than on your torso because drivers are more likely to see the light in motion.
Light The Way. You need to not only be seen, but also be able to see the ground in front of you to avoid potholes, branches, wire fences and slippery leaves. Bring along a headlamp and/or torch to avoid tripping.
Use Common Sense. Leave the iPod at home and bring a mobile phone. “Carry a whole safety kit with your ID, phone, some money and a credit card,” Bergland says. He carries everything in the Amphipod Airflow Lite waistpack (£16, Amphipod.com), which stays in place without bouncing.
Run With A Buddy. There’s safety in numbers at night—not only to increase your visibility to cars, but also to deter potential attackers.
Look At It As An Adventure. “There’s something that’s so romantic and mysterious about running at night,” Bergland says. “If you’re feeling bored with your daily routine, night running is a really good way to add a new dimension.”
Some Kit To Get You Started…
Energizer Micro Sport Headlight: This lightweight LED headlight gives off bright light (high and low settings) and has a red safety flasher that attaches to the back of the band. It’ll also come in handy for transition setup at early-morning races. £18.99, Amazon.co.uk
Road ID Reflective Band: The neon yellow elastic and reflective material of this 4cm-wide band keeps you visible from 360 degrees. £7, for pair, Roadid.com
Knuckle Lights: An alternative to lugging a flashlight, they have an adjustable strap and wide beams of light. £25, Knucklelights.com
Nathan Sports Wrist Runner Lite: Made of moisture-wicking fabric, a double- fold pocket securely holds cash and credit cards, with a hidden pocket to carry a key. £7.99, Nathansports.co.uk