The 7 surprising facts about hiking through the night
With the Ledlenser Night Pass, each athlete can hike through the night once – twice for the first three winners of the Leatherman Prologue. This is what they can expect.
Feelings of serenity
Hiking through the night and going without sleep is unbelievably tough – the body will be hurting, there will most likely be all kinds of aches and pains to manage. And yet, it can also be an incredibly peaceful and beautiful experience, like meditation. There will be moments when athletes feel like they are at peace with the world and can go on forever.
The three winners of the Leatherman Prologue who push through the night twice are likely to suffer most from sleep deprivation and will possibly see strange apparitions during the night. These hallucinations, known as sleepmonsters, are familiar to seasoned adventure racers. They can range from strange shapes in the trees to seeing fairytale monsters jump out at you! With good mental discipline, it’s possible to override them, but if you see a bear in the woods in northern Italy, maybe check with your supporter, as they do exist.
You run more naturally
Because you don’t have the vision that you have during daylight, when running at night you’re forced to rely on other senses and place greater emphasis on the feeling underfoot. This will make you run with a more natural motion. See more unusual night running benefits here.
The days of twisting a dial on your head to pump out a weak yellow beam from a single bulb are long gone. Headlamps have evolved so much in the last few years that athletes can light up the way like never before. Race sponsor Ledlenser’s MH10 pumps out 600 lumens for up to 10 hours – more than enough to see you through the night.
The joy of sunrise
Seeing the sun rise is a joyful experience whatever the occasion. But when you’ve hiked through the long night it takes on an even bigger significance. The first signs of dawn breaking; the appearance of the sun and above all the warmth it brings. When you first see the sun after a long night, you will understand why some civilisations worship the sun.
Back to basics...
After a few days athletes’ brains turn to mush and they become almost totally dependent on their supporters to make decisions for them. Without sleep, even the most basic calculations become epic feats of arithmetic. Working out how long it might take to reach a target 15km away when you’re hiking 6km per hour? Er…. imagine problem solving while drunk. Little sums like this could keep athletes’ minds occupied for hours.
You’re faster at night
If you’ve ever felt that you run faster at night you may be right. London University found a group of marathon runners went consistently faster over a 10km course in night runs than over the same course during the day. Whether that’s true of night running in the Red Bull X-Alps, it would be interesting to know.