The outdoor events calendar keeps on growing:
5Ks and 10Ks, duathlons and triathlons, orienteering and parkour, cyclocross and fell-running, the list gets longer every year. Most events have evolved from simple pursuits like walking, running or cycling and reflect a desire to keep exercise fresh and exciting.
One of the latest is night running. Going out at night requires more concentration, both to keep on the right track and to avoid hazards. Walking, running and cycling at night are skills worth having since so much of the day is spent in darkness during winter, so the development of night time events shows a desire on the part of runners and cyclists to keep active all year.
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First up on the calendar is a 10K trail run in Dalkeith Country Estate, south of Edinburgh, on February 26. Runners will require head torches for the race, which starts at 7.30pm, two hours after sunset. Some of last year's runners got a tad muddy, so be prepared.
A fortnight later, on March 15, there's The Mighty Deerstalker, a nocturnal 10K obstacle course starting from Traquair House (pictured), Innerleithen, and incorporating natural and man-made obstacles as well as splash zones. Tweed is the theme, with runners encouraged to dress like Downton Abbey's Lord Grantham on a shooting party.
June is a big month for nocturnal events. It's the month of the Moonwalk, a night-time power walk to raise money for breast cancer care and support, which is in its ninth year and will be starting at Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, on June 7. This year, as well as wearing a bra (the Moonwalk motif), walkers are encouraged to dress as their favourite superheroes. There are four distances to choose from, ranging from 6.55 miles to 52.4 miles.
If cycling is more your thing you could try the Edinburgh Night Ride, a 50-mile charity cycle through the city's streets, with breaks for drinks and snacks en route. It takes place on June 21, starting at 11pm.
The Caledonian Challenge on June 14 and June 15 is a 54-mile walk along the West Highland Way, completed over 24 hours, with a vertical elevation equivalent to climbing Ben Nevis twice. Teams raise money for charities through Foundation Scotland. If you just like walking but don't see yourself as the next Ben Fogle, then Marie Curie Cancer Care is running a series of 10K summer twilight walks for the family, in Dalkeith Country Park again on July 26, Pollok Country Park on August 16 and Glamis Castle on September 6. Stay for a picnic and live music, starting at 10pm, when Marie Curie nurses typically begin their shifts.
Visit entrycentral.com/tritrail3 (the Dalkeith Country Park 10K), mightydeerstalker.com, walkthewalk.org/challenges/themoonwalkscotland, caledonianchallenge.com, edinburgh-nightride.com and mariecurie.org.uk.