Last week, we asked you to share your spookiest fitness story with us, and you delivered. We received quite a few entries that have made more than one of us think twice about running on that dark trail and pack some more lights when we head out.
Though picking a winner from the bunch was a challenge, we decided that this story by our user Dan Asquith, which we’ve dubbed “A Thrash in the Night”, was the one that gave us the most goosebumps. Here is his tale of an unusually eerie run…
“A Thrash in the Night”
– by Dan Asquith
I decided to go for a night run so strapped on my head torch and headed on out. The route I took was one of my regular runs which took in the local park, football stadium and the ‘wasteland’ behind the stadium, which is unlit. (Hence the need for a head torch.)
I was on something like my third lap of this course and had decided to beat the unease of the dark wasteland with some rather loud rock music. Between the beam of my head torch and the blare of the music in my headphones I was in a pretty isolated bubble in an otherwise pitch black universe.
Skirting along the furthest edge of the wasteland that is bounded by a railway line at the bottom of a steep embankment I became aware of a change in my environment. The tall, wild grasses were beginning to sway violently around in my torch beam, in what was otherwise a still night.
I picked up the pace, my brain struggling to work out what was going on whilst concentrating on my foot placing on a trail no more than a foot wide and lapping up my own personal rock concert. Just how fast was I running to cause this kind of turbulence around me?
Another 20 meters further along and there was another change. There was a definite rumble. I couldn’t hear it, but I could definitely feel it.
Still the rock band screamed on.
I couldn’t tell whether the rumble had started in my feet and ended up in my head or had been everywhere spontaneously? The rumble increased. The grass was positively shaking now. Everywhere I turned, my head torch there was violence in the air. Not being able to focus on my run anymore I stopped to regroup and try and work this out. What was happening!? Still the rock band screamed on.
I picked my way off the trail through the wildness to the edge of the steep embankment and peered down and along the blackness that is the railway line below me. Nothing. I turned my head the other way, half expecting, half dreading to see a train, derailed, skidding sideways out of the blackness along the track at break-neck speed towards me.
After all, what else could be causing such thunderous rumbles that were at this very moment more dominant in my senses than a rock concert louder than hell? I knew I wasn’t imagining it. The swirling, thrashing waist high grass was testament to that. Surely???
I was seriously starting to panic now. Nothing my senses could determine within my torch beam or the oppressive blackness of the wasteland outside it made sense. My run now forgotten I had to get away from this madness…and the rock band screaming for vengeance wasn’t helping anymore. I ripped the the earphones out and banished the four piece to another dimension.
Only I wasn’t greeted by the sweet silence of the night. The nightmare didn’t dissipate the way the rock music had.
My world was now filled with a thudding, staccato whup-whupping and instantly I was aware of a tumultuous wind. The cause of the thrashing grass! Of course! Had my senses been so consumed by my torch beam and rock music, my placing of each stride and my frenetic logic building in the face of logic demolition, that they were numb to the actual air swirling about up until this point!?
For the first time my eyes flicked up. Instead of the pitch black of a night sky under thick cloud cover, my entire field of vision was filled with something huge and monstrous. Artificial lights and dim reflections off shiny surfaces.
Relief and anger washed over me simultaneously in equal amounts. Whilst I’d been elsewhere on my previous lap of the course and out of the line of sight the air ambulance had come in to land. Its landing pad being a few hundred meters on the other side of the train lines and a good twenty meters below my current position, along with being hidden from sight by a row of small trees and thick bushes I hadn’t seen it take off as I’d been too busy rocking out and concentrating on my narrow head torch beam.
But the pilot had seen me, or rather my light, making its way along in the pitch black of the wasteland and had decided to take a closer look. A much closer look. The helicopter was no more than thirty feet above my head and was hovering.
Maybe he’d seen me confused and thought it was funny to spook me like that. All I know is once it must have become apparent to the occupants of the helicopter that I had worked out what was actually happening the helicopter began to rise and drift away. Leaving me alone in the dark.
Now I really was scared. I didn’t want to be out in this black wilderness with only my torch beam and a rock band for company. I needed civilization. I needed street lights. I needed the warmth and security of home. I felt like a fool. I knew it was just a helicopter now, but now I was spooked and couldn’t shake that ancient instinct.
My run was over.
Thanks, Dan, for this awesome narrative, and thank you all for sharing your crazy/funny/mysterious/creepy fitness horror stories with us!
Happy Halloween 🎃
The Endomondo Team