100 mile - The Night


It's worth investing in a decent head torch. The brighter the better. I started off with a 60 lumen one, then 100 lumen and now 200 lumens. Cannot be too bright. I also find that when running at night where I have to be checking my footing that a handheld torch in addition is very useful as this adds a little depth to the light to help with perception of distances plus you can wave it around to look at things without having to turn your head as much. Make sure you have plenty of spare batteries, better to have ten extra than need one and not have it. Always start off with brand new batteries. It's amazed me at several 100s where people don't have spares or don't even know if the batteries they have in their head torch are new or not. Rechargeable batteries might seem a good idea, but don't believe the manufacturers claims on battery life. I've seen some folk with dead lights after just two or three hours of use...


Nomatter what the temperature says it is, nomatter what the wind is like, nomatter what speed you're going at. You will get cold at night. I think the #1 reason for DNF at 100 mile events is that people get cold, absolutely chilled to the bone, they get to a nice warm aid station, they're tired, they're hurting, they're sore, they've got 29 miles to go and at the current pace that's 8 hours, in the dark, in the cold. Take one more layer than you think you could ever possibly need. One more pair of gloves a nice fleecy beanie hat, just have it available, just in case you need it. It's always better to have too much stuff and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I have never had a discussion with anyone in the night saying how they wish they'd brought less layers... plenty with folks who wish they'd brought more. If you're worried about carrying things or having too much just bring an old race shirt or three and throw them away when the sun comes back at the next aid station.

Baseball Caps

Another thing that never occurred to me until it did is that if you wear a baseball type cap through the night with a head torch, it blocks a fair bit of downwards light, because the brim blocks it. I've also found it creates a quite defined shadow in front of your feet which can be a little disorientating. Obvious when you think about it. But something to bear in mind, beanie hats are far better as there is nothing to block the light (and warmer). However if it's going to rain, or likely to, then baseball type caps do a far better job of keeping rain off your face and out of your eyes. Especially useful if you wear glasses, in which case a baseball cap reversed may be the best solution until it rains when it can be reversed and you'll have to live with the shadow.


If you're running at night, have your pace carry an extra torch in their hand to light the way, the more light there is, the better. Where the course is more technical having them run behind you lighting your path where your feet are landing is probably the best method.

Staying Awake

Unless you're really, really quick you're going to have to face the prospect of being up for a long time, if you sleep poorly the night before, have a journey of sorts before arriving at the start line or its a tough 100. You can be looking at a minumum of being awake for 24 hours, more like 48, perhaps more. Falling asleep is generally a bad idea, needing to sleep more than anything can cause a DNF. You hear tales of runners just laying down besides the trail to sleep, and sleeping, all generally fairly bad ideas.

Caffiene is generally your friend here, it can perk you up, keep you awake. If its available I'll have a cup or two of coke at each aid station, I also carry caffiene pills and 5-hour energy type vials of caffiene type things. I've also found that all of these things are much more effective if you caffiene cut in the days leading up to the 100. I typically have about a week cycle where I'll cut down to nothing or almost nothing the day before. It should probably be a deeper cut than this and would even be more effective... but I do like my diet coke!

Pacers and fellow runners can also be of great assistance in the night, chatting, sharing navigation duties or just the general shared suffering can all help.


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