How tough is the challenge?
The Half Marathon is hilly, but well marked, plenty of road and straightforward. The Marathon is again marked, but you need to be able to run at night on trails with a head torch over rough ground whilst keeping an eye out for course markers and use the written route description at times. The ultra is a toughie! in 2012-2014 65% of entrants completed within the time limit, a few finished after dawn, and some failed to complete the course. Due to the sunset and sunrise time, you have an extra 5 minutes to complete in 2015! However, 50 miles and 9000ft of ascent is considerable. In terms of effort, it’s similar in distance and elevation to the excellent Longmynd Hike. The equally superb Bullock Smithy Hike is a longer race (56m). However, those two events have time limits of 24 hours, whereas the Dusk ’til Dawn ultra has a limit of just over 14 hours. You’ll need to keep an average pace of just over 3.5mph to complete before dawn. Much as we’d like everyone to finish, we know not everyone will for various reasons. This is a tough event with a short cut off time. Will 95% of you finish or 50%? You wouldn’t be interested in entering the event if it was easy would you?
Why is it at night?
A few reasons. It’s a little bit different from other races out there. It will be challenging navigating at night by head torch, but also we hope it will be fun too. It will be useful experience for anyone who is taking part in any other ultra in which running and navigating at night is a requirement, such as the High Peak Marathon, or the long-stage of a multi-day ultramarathon such as the Marathon des Sables or Atacama Crossing.
One more reason. It’s a novel way to increase awareness of Malignant Melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, caused primarily by sun damage. It is the most common form of cancer in people aged 15-34. Each year, approximately 2,000 people die in England and Wales due to melanoma and more than 10,400 people are diagnosed with it. You are not going to need any sunblock for this event, but please use it when you’re out running in the day time. Runners spend a lot of time outdoors, and don’t always slap on the sunblock. If you’re worried about a mole, please get it checked at your doctor as soon as you can, as malignant melanoma is very aggressive, and early diagnosis is vital.
We have tried to keep the race entry fee as low as we can, but if we do make a profit, then we donate everything from the ultra distance event to Macmillan Cancer Support. If you’d like to help further, by running the event sponsored, then great, we’d love that! You can get a sponsorship form from us.
Since 2012 have raised over £7000.00
What is included in the entry price?
- Award Medal for 13 or 26 miles
- Colour coded Award medal for ultra finishers
- Finish before 3am: Pitch Black (Black)
- Finish 3:01 to 5 am: Near Dark (Gold)
- Finish 5:01 to sunrise: Twilight (Silver)
- Finish after sunrise: Daylight (Bronze)
- Staff and first aid medical support
- Tea/Coffee before the event
- Custom map, highlighting the route
- Snacks and drinks (hot drinks at some CPs) for duration of event
- Participation in a fun as well as tough event!
How good do my navigation skills need to be?
We add some marking to help you, but remember this is night time, it may be foggy. You will have to stay sharp and keep an eye out for markers. We will issue a full written route description to supplement the maps we give you too.
For the ultra runners, you’ll have to find your way around the course in the dark and some areas are not marked. You should therefore be confident with map reading, identifying your location on a map, and be able to take a bearing from the compass. All tricky sections of the route will be marked by reflective tape, and you will get a route description and a map.
Kit list: what do I need to carry with me on the run?
- A custom A3-sized 50k scale OS map (will be supplied by us on race day). The map is laminated and somewhat water resistant.
- Compass (and know how to use it with an OS map)
- a mobile phone
- Waterproof jacket
- Additional warm layer (fleece, down layer suggested)
- Hat and gloves
- Reflective jacket / reflective bands to wear over your top/jacket. There is the occasional road crossing/section. Make sure you can be seen.
- head torch (and spare batteries, or spare torch)
- space blanket & whistle
- drinks bottle / mug / camelback
- some food for the course to supplement checkpoint food.
- any personal medication
- Trail shoes. Road shoes will not provide sufficient grip especially in wet weather. Fell shoes or similar will provide superior grip on certain sections if the ground is very wet, but trail shoes are overall better suited to the mixed terrain.
- More additional warm clothes
- waterproof trousers
- first aid kit
- For those unfamiliar with the area, 25K maps will provide more detail than the race supplied 50k map. We recommend you consider transferring the race route onto a 25K if you don’t know the area.
Can I leave a bag at the start / finish / or drop bag?
Yes, you can leave your belongings at the race HQ, there will be someone there at all times, but don’t leave anything valuable in the bag. We can’t be responsible for any loss. It might be useful to label your bag with your name and race number so that we can find it if there is an emergency. If you label up a bag and tell us it is a drop bag, you can collect it at the half way mark
Do I need to carry spare batteries and a spare bulb for my head torch?
As this event is entirely run at night, we strongly recommend that you replace the batteries in your head torch before you begin and either carry spare batteries (more than 1 set of spares is recommended), or a spare head torch. A spare bulb is not necessary (most torches use LEDs anyway). Try out your headtorch on a night run, if you’re struggling with footing, consider a brighter one (more lumens). Poor visibility will really slow you down on a night run. Make sure you test your headtorch before you turn up!
Can I use a GPS?
Yes, you can use a GPS if you wish, the route will be available to download from the Routes page of the website.
Do I have to stick to the race route. What about short-cutting?
You must follow the race route. It has been carefully chosen in many sections for safety and to minimise disturbance to residents. Farm owners are aware you are coming through specific paths of their land. We have our sweeper coming through and if you’ve gone off course, and got lost or injured then the sweeper is not going to find you. Follow the route for your own safety. There are one or two areas that may look tempting to shortcut. Don’t! There are several self-clip checkpoints on the course to avoid short cuts.
What is the cut off time? How fast does the Grim Sweeper Run?
14 hours, 13 minutes. That’s sunrise exactly. The British Medical Journal found that The Grim Reaper moves at 2mph, however the our Grim Sweeper is wearing new trainers, and they make him faster! You need to average better than 3.5mph to reach each CPs in time. The first section of the course is the toughest, so we’ll be lenient with cut-off. You’ll need to make up time later on in the event if you’ve not made CP1 in a 3.5mph time. The Grim Sweeper will be snapping at your heels.
What happens if I don’t finish before dawn?
If the (Grim) Sweeper catches you up, then you’re moving too slow to finish by dawn (average 3.55mph). There are cut-off times at every CP and intermediate marshal point. If the Grim Sweeper catches you up, or if you get lost as he passes you, you will be retired at next CP that you reach. He takes no prisoners. He claimed 27 souls in 2013, and the same amount in 2014. Be warned! He usually catches 25% of the ultra runners, so pick your distance wisely.
How will I find my results?
Results will be published online.
Will we be put into groups when it gets dark?
No, you are allowed to run the event individually. If you wish to run in groups or pairs, that is your own choice, it will not be enforced. If you’re not a confident navigator then you should not enter, or ensure you are paired with someone at all times who is!
What map do I need?
We will provide you with an A3 sized 50K OS map of the event when you arrive, but you are welcome to bring your own
Will I need to take my own food & drink?
The checkpoints will stock a variety of hot drinks (at some CPs), cold drinks, some snacks; such as biscuits, sweets and crisps. However, it is recommended that you carry some of your own food that you would normally eat on a run. You should carry a water bottle and this can be refilled at the checkpoints.
How far apart are the checkpoints?
For all distances there is a CP after 6 miles.
For Marathon there are 3 CPs in total. For the ultra there are 4 checkpoints, they are roughly every 10 miles.
There are extra marshal points roughly half way between most CPs. The marshall will log you as you pass. The marshal may have a small quantity of water to supply. The marshal will have a vehicle.
What happens if I can’t finish the race?
If you cannot finish the race, you should retire at a checkpoint. You will be taken back to the race HQ when we can arrange transport for you or when the CP closes. If you have to retire elsewhere and make your own way off the course you must use your phone to call the race organisers and notify them of your intentions. Failure to do this could result in mountain rescue being notified unnecessarily.
Do you recommend we take advantage of accommodation after the race?
Yes. You will have just undertaken a very tough challenge, and you will be very tired. You will not be in a fit condition to drive straight home afterwards. It’s highly likely, you’ll look a little something like this. He’d just run 50 miles through the night, and fell asleep about 30 seconds later!
British explorer and mountaineer Sir Ranulph Fiennes unfortunately fell asleep at the wheel, and crashed his car, after completing a night-long ultramarathon in 2010. So, it can happen to the best of us! Please stay locally, or arrange for someone to drive, who has not just taken part in the race. There are hotels in Buxton. There are two Youth Hostels about 20 mins away that we recommend; Hathersage or Edale.
Can I reccie the course in advance?
Of course. Run along it as many times as you like!
Can I get a meal before the race?
There are plenty of nearby places to eat nearby in Castleton
Are places limited?
Yes. We have to cap entries for reasons of capacity and parking.
I have more questions?
Why not post them on the event’s Facebook Page, and we’ll answer them there. Or contact us via contact us link on the menu.
I need a refund?
Full refund less 5% before September 29th Race mementos and equipment ordered, so no refunds possible after this time. You may transfer your entry to a friend if you wish though. Notify us for details on how to so this.
You can also opt to donate your entire entry fee to Macmillan Cancer Support.