More spooky, nighttime trail running stories from runners just like you.
Tales from the
You are running the Little Loco, making your way down to the creek (Loop 3, I think). You are tired, no one is in sight, no moon, no cell service. As you make your way down those 3 miles, you run across a bird that has been torn to pieces and wonder if it is fresh, but hope it is old...keep your head down and keep moving. Don't look in the bushes because you don't want to see mountain lion eyes staring back at you.
I’m running a five mile-ish Loco relay leg back in 2014 in the dark. The van decided to stay ahead of me, stopping a couple hundred yards ahead of me, waiting until I got closer, and then pulling ahead again. It was a dusty road and I wanted them to just take off and wait at the next checkpoint instead of kicking up dust, but I couldn’t catch up to tell them, so I ended up just turning off my headlamp so they couldn’t see me and would just take off. I loved running in the dark with only some moonlight for a couple miles.
Cows can apparently sneak up on oneself while driving and volunteering during dark times. Best advice? Go slow if you see a "livestock on the road" sign because that cow ain't mooooooving on your account!
Running Rocky Racoon 100 miler in 2020, I was on the last 4 laps (around mile 85). MY pacer decided to fall asleep! He was hiking through the brush. Needless to say, I had to reel HIM. Once the sun came up, he redeemed himself and got me to my second 100-mile finish. Usually, I am the one to sleep run!
I was pacing a friend of mine at the TRT run. Unfortunately, she had to drop right after I had joined her. So, I decided to run the first part of the course in reverse order to get to the finish line and get about 20 miles in. It was dusk. I turned my headlight on, and someone who
was running the hundred-mile course came running towards me a panic because they couldn’t get their headlight to work. I gave him mine and pulled out my spare. The battery in my spare headlight lasted about 10 minutes before it died. I was running in Tahoe on trails I have never been on before and was dark. I used my cell phone flashlight until the battery died. I wasn’t sure I was running in the right direction when I suddenly heard a noise from something moving, even with me, just off the trail to my right. I couldn’t see what it was, so I sped up a little bit and it matched my pace. I continued speeding up and it continued speeding up with me. I ran a sub seven-minute mile for the first time since I was 19. Suddenly, whatever was tracking me, took off to the right. I could hear it getting further away in the brush.
Running down toward Lollipop (at Loco) Savannah B. and I saw lots of pairs of bright yellow eyes about 4 inches above the ground. As we approached, they would seemingly levitate into the air! It turned out they were little owls- probably saw whet owls. Very cool. Probably saw close to a dozen!
Pacing a friend for a 100m; she’s on mile 86ish and is most likely seeing double. My headlamp had died so I was relying on hers. Tells me she sees cat eyes in the dark (we’re running in Cool) then turns her head forward. I can’t see so I say where & because we’re still moving forward, I turn my head forward. She says over there in the grass, but she’s turned her head again. You get how this continued. I told her let’s not look for what we don’t want to see and pushed her to the next aid station where another runner told us he had seen a mountain lion earlier. I was so happy when we reached the next place!
Running down a huge mountain with a friend, I came around a corner to some creepy guy standing right in the middle of the trail. It was pitch black, NO LIGHTS, except my headlamp. It was around midnight. I've never ran so fast
At my first Loco relay we were in DFL (Dead F***ing Last) and Kelly was the 2nd to last runner as it was getting dark. She made up good time, I took over and passed the 2nd to last person but all I could really think about is the bear I saw at the beginning of the relay in the meadow while Katie was running. I didn’t tell my team about it. The Jeep followed me through that last leg, shining its lights on me as I ran as fast as I could to the finish. I collapsed into the chair and Karey asked if we had seen a bear and my team replied no but they were all surprised that I had exclaimed yes! That’s what kept me motivated to run like a bear was chasing me.