Running into the Night – NY Times article

This article is very evocative for me. We can debate whether the author is a selfish jerk, as noted in the comments, but it brought back vivid memories.

I used to run at night all the time. Before kids when I lived in the Haight and the Castro, because of my job, and I was not yet a morning person. After kids, when I lived out by City College, because that was the only time I had available. I couldn’t get in my 40 miles a week without it. It’s a special feeling, but it really requires dedication. Sharp eyes, good footing, and an ability to sprint out of danger. Knowing the course helps, which makes this story all the more thrilling.

My nighttime running was late 80s and early 90s, before decent headlamps and certainly before cell phones. I ran from McLaren Lodge to the ocean and back on JFK Drive, about 7 miles roundtrip, usually around 8:30-9:00 at night, maybe earlier in the winter, three nights a week. After getting hit by a car (my fault!), I started wearing a reflector vest and a flashing bike light strapped to my upper arm. I got hit twice more, so it was clearly me that was the problem – people in cars just cannot see you at night, and I was assuming they could. At that time in the City, GG Park was in a shambles. The equestrian trails were overgrown with blackberries, most of the street lights were out, and the paved pedestrian path along JFK was crumbled and buckled. I used to run down the middle of the road to keep from tripping over obstacles in the dark. To get to the Park from the Castro, I ran down the middle of the street through what is now The Wiggle – not much traffic in those days, but lots of sketchy characters hanging out on the street.

I always felt I ran faster in the dark. For those who have done ultras (not me!), I suspect it’s all about being able to run in the dark for extended periods. I have a friend who finally made it into Western States this year, and said he was fearful of running in the dark, but when daylight came, he was sad to see the night go.

We are lovers of a very strange sport indeed.

Jay K
Half Full Running Club