“To Infinity & Beyond!” Running in the Dark


Judy Alexander,


My buddy, Lynn Hearn, and I used to run a 5-mile loop that started and finished at North Florida Christian School and ran exclusively on the roads. Several weeks ago, while I was complaining about this ache and that pain, my husband, Brian Corbin, suggested that Lynn and I join him and his 5am cronies out on the trail.

“It’s much better for your legs and knees than the road!” He says.
“But it’s so dark out there in the woods at that hour,” I say.
“We wear headlamps or carry flashlights; it’s fun!”
“I’m pretty sure I’ll trip over a root or an animal or my own two feet…”
“Come on, Honey, just give it a try.”

So I called Lynn and although I was glad when she agreed to try it, I’m not sure I wasn’t hoping she’d say no and she would be my excuse not to have to go out and take a face plant first thing in the morning. We have now abandoned our road loop to run exclusively on the pitch dark, beautiful-at-that-hour trails. Not only that, but a couple of Wednesdays ago when I wasn’t feeling up to running, Brian came home saying, “You should’ve been there! We had EIGHT people out there this morning!” That’s a lot of people getting up when the first digit on the clock is a ‘4,’ you know what I mean? But you should hear everybody; this is not a group of tired zombies slogging through a workout. These people are happy to be out there, cracking jokes, talking about everything under the sun…er, moon.

Alan Cox just got back from a two week trip to Israel and I could have listened all day to all the things he did and learned and saw. Several in the group are training for their first Boston Marathon. Godby Coach Chris Sumner tells us about an up and coming prepster who just ran a record breaking time only to have it surpassed the next day by the kid he helped to figure out that the time barrier really wasn’t a barrier at all. The dark and the terrain level the playing field – that’s how I’m able to run with my life partner, who runs MUCH faster than I do in every other setting – opening up friendships that probably never would have come to fruition otherwise. The joy of running, necessity to go early because that’s the only time we have to run, and the great company are our motivators.

Most of the running groups I know of share this joy, even if they do not all run at that early hour on the trail or in the dark. You can tell by the groups’ names: The Sunday Streakers (no, they don’t run naked, but they DO change venues every week!), the Imitation Adults, The Early Morning Crazies (that’s the name Olivia Swedberg came up with for our 5am trail group), Early Girlz (a group that includes several men), The Fat Boys (led by the not-at-all-fat trail aficionado John Kalin), Tuesday Night Intervals (uh, well, five out of six ain’t bad. Sorry, Gary Droze!)

Even if you enjoy the solitude running solo gives you, check this issue for the list of running groups. Then come on out and give one of them a try; you will be welcomed with open arms – and at times flashlights and headlamps – and your running will be infused with joy!

One more quick thing: I’d like to start including notable member accomplishments, running related or not, so we can get to know our fellow members better. For example, a post to the listserv the other day told of an amusing article by Jack McDermott published in Marathon and Beyond. While Googling to find that article, I stumbled on a book, Weekend Warriors: Men of the National Lacrosse League, written by Jack McDermott! Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Sarah Docter-Williams was a speed skating phenom starting in her teens, who ended up going to the Olympics and being inducted into the Speed Skating Hall of Fame. Herb Wills, a FSU and GWTC Hall of Famer who you will read about in the Volunteer Spotlight column this month, was a four time All American, not to mention the first American Finisher in the 1989 Boston Marathon. If you or someone you run with has done something you feel is worthy of reporting, please email the information to me at jalexander98@comcast.net. I’ll include as many submissions as possible!

Happy Spring!