Race Report: National Trust Night Run | Eclectic Cake: Race Report: National Trust Night Run

Monday, 3 November 2014

Race Report: National Trust Night Run

WHAT:  7k trail night run
WHERE:  Osterley Park, Middlesex
WHEN:  25th October 2014

The National Trust aims to preserve some of the country's most beautiful and historically important spaces and open them up to the public. Now they've made night trail running accessible, too. With 12 races across the UK and an option of two distances – Explorer route (1-2km) and Adventurer route (6-9km) – anyone of any age, any experience, anywhere in the country can have a go at some off-road running in the dark.

I arrived at the very first race in the series at Osterley Park just as the sun was setting and the excitement was beginning to buzz and with just enough time to admire the beautiful 18th century house and its grounds, before we pinned on our bibs and pulled on our head torches. Our longer 7km group set off first, letting the 2km family runners admire the lit pumpkins and glow-sticks before they started what was, for some of them, their first ever race!

Charlie, Zoe, Leah, myself and Sophie ready to run!
With a relaxed atmosphere and no timing chip, I chose a relaxed pace to make the experience last longer. Running with friends, we took a break from chatting to ooh and ah at the Halloween pumpkins dotted along the course and to single-file down the narrower tracks. The completely flat terrain was perfect for a non-intimidating trail run and wavered between gravel and firm, tree-rooted mud. Although it's not a challenging route, a head torch is a must to prevent anyone going bump in the night.

Not being familiar with the park, it felt like we were adventuring as we ran in the dark – the course was well marked with cheery marshals at every turn but I had no idea where we were going or what was ahead, besides the dot of lit trail in front. I didn't even realise we were doing a second lap until we passed a familiar-faced pumpkin. It would be really interesting to return to Osterley for the weekly parkrun to explore the grounds in daylight.

Neon shapes in the dark
As the finish arch peeked between the trees, I considered hiding for a bit or slowing to a walk. I'd had a blast and wasn't quite ready to stop but it was a joy to join the other finishers with their glow-in-the-dark medals(!) and soak up the excitement of the mini adventure.

Glow-in-the-dark medal!

For a full list of the National Trust Night Run series venues and to register for a race, click here.


  1. Really wanted to do this but had a commitment clash. Will keep my eyes open for others :)

    1. There are loads going on, perhaps you could coincide it with a nice weekend break away?