A whole list of firsts on this run. Our first real outing with the new kit on, the first we’ve ran (other than training runs) at night. The first with a head torch. The first with free glow-bands. The first with soup and a roll at the end (which Liam didn’t like).

We all looked the part, despite me (Pete) looking like the kid off the estate (Time to own up: my trail shoes were the ones I wore for Reddish ‘Hit The Trail 5’ and absolutely reeked).

After a briefing from the marshal who had to revert to cupped hands as his megaphone was broken, we set off into the night with quite a sizeable field. About 3 minutes in and all light had gone, save for the city haze ten miles beyond. As the masses broke up, it was quite a sight to see a steady line of bobbing head torches when you looked back along the course.

Cue the hills. Even Sherpa Tensing would have taken an extra breath here as they stacked up one after the other, sapping the strength in the upper thighs. The course was well marshalled with glow lights punctuating every hazard and change of route; there were even a couple of ladders and a stile to negotiate. As we neared the ‘cage’ at the highest point, we just had about a mile to go but they had saved the worst until the last. Just when you thought you had made it, they threw in some boggy wetland which threatened to pull my already dirty trail shoes off my feet. Here I saw Liam, who was fighting to stay upright on his road shoes and I just about managed to stay upright before reaching the bliss that was a paved road. Having been up there in the summer, I knew this was the road back so I kicked on and tried to recover some time.

Shaun was first back (as usual Mr Speedy), followed by the rest of us some minutes later. A good experience but I think we’re all glad we managed to avoid injury as it could have ended much differently.