The Moors Valley Country Park just outside of Ringwood was the setting for the inaugural running of White Star running’s newest event The Dark Valley. With 2 distances on offer the entire event sold out in just 24 hours, continuing the popularity of this series of running events based across Dorset and The New Forest.
6 roadrunners were quick enough to bag themselves an entry. They excitedly picked up their numbers as the sun started to droop down below there horizon. It was here that they met up with a few familiar faces and they donned their mandatory illuminations and took their spots on the startline.
Michael Coultrup, Simon Riley, Lisa Upstell and Sarah Holmes set out first as they took on the half marathon distance. The course was 2 slightly different laps into the depths of the forest, lit only by the runners illuminating the paths with their headtorches. Gravel track, sandy paths, muddy trails and some sizeable puddles were interspersed with a few short, sharp inclines.
Half an hour later the 10k set off into the darkness. Super duo Pete and Jodie Wilmott took on the single lap course, following the same route as the half runners before them (just slightly more churned up by now)
“It was fun setting off 1/2 an hour later as we caught up with the very well lit up neoned 1/2 marathon runners and it looked like we were chasing a Mardi Gras parade!”
True to form in a White Star event, there was the infamous Lovestation placed 3.5 miles along the course. Serving cider, raspberry vodka and water alongside jelly sweets and salty crisps.
“The Lovestation was so busy! It was like last orders in the pub haha!” said Holmsie
It was here in the half race that the boys went ahead to run the remaining 10 miles at their own paces and the girls kept it steady.
Jodie and Pete crossed the line together to receive their beautiful medals, just escaping the drizzle. Despite taking it easy, Peter picked up 7th in his age category and Jodie 3rd in hers.
In the half, Michael made up a lot of time after leaving the girls at the Lovestation. He beasted it round to finish in an amazing 26th overall and 3rd V50.
“It was the best night run I had ever attended and I loved the route”
Simon was next over the line in just under the 2 hour mark.
“There was some good technical parts in the short but steep climbs” he said “It could do with being more muddy with water crossings thrown in”
Then the girls came in, big smiles on their faces. Lisa particularly, as she has been battling a foot injury since May.
“A brilliant event that was well set up and marshalled. I loved it, we’ll be back next year” said Lisa triumphantly
Lisa was 7th in her age category and Sarah 4th V40.
Pete Wilmott- 58.11