I am surrounded by darkness and a mist hangs heavily in the valley, reflecting the beam of my headtorch straight back at me and rendering the route ahead even more of a challenge. I keep the pace steady as the climb continues. Flanked either side by my friends, our heavy breathing lending a tangibilty to the effort we are putting in. A cluster of tiny spotlights in a cold ocean of black and greys, a common purpose to reach the top of this hill.
We chat frequently. Bursts of conversation centred around our daily lives, as if this is the time that we are actually existing, the time we can analyse and dissect whatever else might be going on in the space it takes us to meet up every week.
We laugh. We laugh a lot. At each other, at ourselves, at the often absurd situations we find ourselves in. A band of souls pushing the limits of what might be considered normal. Sensible.
We listen intently. As friends do. Shared adventures between this little band building kinships and bonds that transcend a couple of hours every Wednesday night and weave themselves in to the fabric of our everyday lives.
We run. For the joy of running, for the company of others, for the chance to escape convention; in the dark, at night, up hills, through forests, over moors. Bog wading, rock hopping, trail running, beer drinking. Friends, runners, Heathens.
Old English hǣthen, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch heiden and German Heide ; generally regarded as a specifically Christian use of a Germanic adjective meaning ‘inhabiting open country’, from the base of ‘heath’.