Here we are onto Challenge 5 of my epic epilepsy 12 in 12 challenge journey. This has already sped on so quickly that I’m now officially into full winter training mode. It’s been hard feeling motivated when the weather has suddenly turned for the more miserable and dark. The clocks have officially gone back and pulling yourself out of bed on a rainy Monday or training after work on a dark evening, isn’t the most inspiring, to say the least! But I somehow managed it for Challenge 5.

Challenge 5 has now got a tick next to it, as I raced the Skeleton Run 5 mile races up Beacon Hill in beautiful Leicestershire. I know I have done a longer distance (14k) for my first challenge, but the difference with this is that Beacon Hill is hilly, clue is in the name, and the difficulty is that the entire race takes place in the dark! Everyone gets in Halloween attire and races in the mud and dark for 5 miles. It is so much fun! A fantastic trail run that ended with a medal and of course, a toffee apple.

I am a huge fan of trail running and have previously run and walked my dog around Beacon Hill, so I knew the sort of terrain I’d be experiencing, however, that completely went out the window because all sense of prior knowledge was lost in the dark! Thus the challenge!

I decided to race as a black cat, so the outfit would be easy to collect together, and to race in. A cheap black tutu, my standard black running bits, a Tesco cat accessory back and a bit of face paint, and I was sorted. Unfortunately, I don’t own any black trail trainers so my trusty pink Salomon Vario Speed trainers were the trainer of choice. I’d have perhaps opted for my Columbia Montrails but due to me not going to be sure of what I was going to be greeted by, I wanted as much stability as possible. So the ultimate trail shoe was joining me!

We kicked the race off with Beetlejuice, a skeleton and a dog dressed as witch close by, and it was over the gravel, through the mud to the first climb. Slowly the big crowd trickled down and spread out as we started the big climb to the top of Beacon Hill. Greeted by the photographer at the Old Man of the Beacon, thankfully I knew we had reached the highest point. I was aware we had a few more inclines, but the hardest hill was out the way, well, so I thought until I remembered the bridle path that was a slow but brutal climb. Luckily with all these hills, you couldn’t really see them until you were on them, but then when you were on them you didn’t quite know when they would end!

There was a stop for a drink at mile 2 after the hill up to the Old Man of the Beacon, now, I wouldn’t have stopped normally I would have carried on but I spent a good minute or so trying to catch my breath. I had been struggling with stitch since the start, I never get stitch, but boy did I have stitch! I couldn’t seem to get rid of it, so taking a breather was needed! Luckily after the water stop, I made my peace with the stitch and ran with it, but it seriously did not help with my speed!

Finally, we were on the downward stretch! I am actually not a fan of speed or going downhill, but for this race, I was absolutely loving descending in the dark following the random red glow sticks toward the end. I had so much fun doing this challenge and being rewarded with a medal, and a toffee apple as I crossed the finish line by a zombie, was even better!

Challenge 6 is next… watch this space!