For anyone out there (I wonder if there is anyone) that has not tried a trail race - give it a go. It really is great fun and from what I've seen so far pretty relaxed. Perhaps its just a really good excuse to get out and run or in some cases walk. You do have to learn a few new skills like running and reading at the same time but for me that is part of the fun.
When you sign in you get given a list of course instructions, there are no maps involved! You decide when you're ready, then just tell the organisers and off you trot. There's a load of codes to help keep the instructions concise. For example FP = footpath, EB = Earth bridge (a new one for me tonight) and LHFE = left hand field edge. But you don't have to remember them just read them carefully.
I have to admit I was a bit nervous about tonight's race. I aways seem to get a few butterflies before any kind of event but I think the darkness and potential to get properly lost added to that today. Once underway I managed to find the first turning off the road I started to settle down a bit and was reassured by the sight of a couple of walkers doing the same course. Running off road with just a head torch does need concentration and although I've run loads of times at night, I have never noticed how much your other senses kick in. That sounds a bit cliche but it seems to be true. My outstanding memory of the first of three, Blind Mice was the noise and smell caused by running flat out through a cabbage field. Or were they sprouts?