I rely on the train to get too and from work. We only have the one household car so on the odd occasion where i finish later than the last train leaves i’ll borrow the car. Unfortunately this particular evening being Halloween the kids were going to a Halloween event which meant i was unable to have the car for work. On a couple of previous occasions i have cycled home out of desperation but having a heavy work bag work clothes and shoes, basically the wrong kit for the job!, it was bit of a slog. Then the thing happened, the thought went through my mind, i can cycle the 10 miles home in an hour, may be i could run it! I convinced myself it was a good idea, i had a day off the next day, yeah! i’ll do it!
The weather was forecast reasonably mild but rain was also forecast for the early hours of the morning. I took a gamble that i would just about be in front of the rain and could make it home without getting too wet. A couple of firsts as well on this run. First run at night and a first run wearing a backpack. The pack i used was one i’ve had 18 years from snowboarding and is a DaKine helipack, slimline, 10 litre and capable of holding a hydration pack. There was bit of a cock up at work and instead of finishing at about 00.50 when there was only a slight drizzle in the air, i finished at 01.40am and the heavens had opened!! By time i had got changed into my running gear i was starting to wonder if it was a good idea, may be i should grovel to the company for a taxi home! No!, i was committed and it was time to get moving.
Bishops Stortford is a market town on the Hertfordshire border so is well lit so no need for the headtorch at this point. Heading out of town i passed by the Cock pub c1590’s. No sign of any headless apparitions, also no sign of any legless ghouls either! they had either been locked in or had been long since kicked out! Making my way along the London road passing by the Roman road into the old Roman part of town. Apart from the pad of my own feet on the wet pavement and the sound of hammering rain there was no sound of hobnail shoes of marching legions tonight! The water was rising in the streets and there were some large flooded road areas. Into the half mile poorly lit section between Bishops Stortford and the next village of Stansted Mountfitchet. Over the railway bridge passed the Old Bell Inn and on Into the village which again is a well lit area, still no ghostly sightings! Heading out of the village the next 3 miles has no lighting and had to use the headtorch to help light the way. Still the water was rising and covering the pavement in a lot of places and it was easier to run in the road for the most part. By this point i was absolutely soaked but pretty warm and was having to launch through ankle deep ponds of water as the roads were covered.
Heading on towards the villages of Ugley and then Quendon i was now out into the “sticks” of North Essex which consists of open fields and wooded areas. I think even the dumbest of wildlife had the good sense to be taking shelter for the night and wasn’t going to be bothering me. If anything they were probably having a good laugh at me being the dumbest of them all!! Passed Dick’s wood were a homeless fella lived for 30 years or more of his life and only passed away a few years ago but even his ghost didn’t fancy venturing into the horrendous nights weather to try and scare the wits out of me. On reaching Quendon i was effectively on the home stretch with 3 more miles to run. My soggy feet squelching away, breathing into the dark night air, soaked to the skin, i was almost there! I rounded a couple more bends, up a small hill, along a cut through and finally at my front door.
No ghosts, ghouls or apparitions on the run home. The scariest sight of the night was seeing myself in the mirror, drowned rat is an understatement!! I’m the first to admit absolutely hating the rain, cold and snow i can handle but i hate the rain and i chose the wettest night of the year to run home. I set off at 01.55am and made the 10 mile trip home by 03.05am, 1 hour 10 minutes and 59 seconds. Not bad for an absolutely hellish Halloween run home.