Friday November 3rd marked the second OS Runners Halloween run. This year we followed a route around Tanners Brook, head torches and reflective jackets donned for 3 reasons; head torches so that we could see where we were going as darkness and the creeping tendrils of a spectral mist enveloped us in the woods, and reflective jackets to hopefully make any spirits or ghouls flee from their unnatural glow…and of course to protect us from more tangible dangers, i.e. cars when we had to cross roads!
Once we’d scaled the north face of Bakers Drove we plunged into the woods where we were faced with our first challenge, drawing straws; long straws got a packet of Maltesers, short straws got to do walking lunges in the primordial ooze of the much-travelled track.
We then set off again through the woods accompanied by the distant screeching of bats, the mournful hoots of owls and the haunting howls of wolves (ok, I may have made those bits up) until we chanced upon a thicket from which there were ghostly wails emanating…. Approaching cautiously, we discovered one of our number ready to scare us with ghostly tales and poems! Thanks Rob Finch, I won’t sleep for a month now!
We continued our travels until we crossed the stile that would take us into the Field of Aggressively Territorial Cows which we fervently hoped weren’t in residence. As we ran through this field towards Routs Copse we must have seemed a strange sight to the traffic on the M27 a mere 150m or so away as they spied our head torches casting about for these belligerent bovines. Fortunately, the antagonistic ruminants weren’t about but that didn’t stop us picking our pace up through this boggy field and we only felt safe after we’d crossed that last stile opposite Routs Way.
We now had to travel to Home Covert via the much more civilised and (hopefully!) phantom free neighbourhoods of Routs Way and Horns Drove so we had some respite from constantly looking over our shoulders and jumping at strangely formed shadows or an unexpected ghoulish sound originating away from our main group…
Once in Home Covert we set about a task to take our minds off of the thoughts of hauntings as we all tried to find small luminous bats placed in the trees by Naomi and Karen earlier in the day. Baz and Eddie hung back at one point and turned their head torches off letting the main group get a bit further ahead before both blasting on their Mixed Ability whistles, yelling and rushing the group from behind. Thus snapping the main group out of their false sense of security following the jaunt down Horns Drove, the rest of the group realised that they weren’t yet safe and cautiously continued their way through the Covert, not straying too far from the path to collect the bats when they saw them.
As we exited the Covert and saw the welcoming lights of OS HQ we all breathed a collective sigh of relief as we realised we had safely made it back to the changing rooms.
We were lucky this year, but will our luck hold out next year??…..
Huge thanks to Naomi for organising this, Rob Finch for scaring us in the woods by Tanners Brook in Lordswood and Karen for helping Naomi lay out the course.