It’s that time of year. The Winter Solstice is coming up soon, and if you time your runs correctly there’s a badge in it for you. To earn “The Shortest Day” you’ll need to complete two runs on the day of the solstice. The first needs to start before sunrise and finish after and the second needs to start before sunset and finish after it goes beneath the horizon.
Running can run the gamut between being a complete drudge, and a truly spiritual experience. This run will almost certainly be one of the two. You’ll be strapping on your kicks, and going out in the dark and also, possibly, the bitter cold. While you wait for your GPS to sync you may think to yourself “This is it. The earth has moved as far as it can go in one direction and from tomorrow it will start to come back. This day has signified the cycle of death and rebirth among human cultures across the globe since time immemorial” or you may think “I can’t feel my toes.” You just don’t know how it will go until you give it a try.
The Solstice Badge is a chance to roll the dice, to take a chance on something truly meaningful, to feel your heart beat in your chest, to see your breath explode into the air, to watch the sun crest the horizon, and then later to watch it fall beneath the earth. Set your alarm! Take the chance!
Here are some important things to remember:
- The solstice happens at the same moment across the globe, but it will happen in very different time zones. This year in most places in the world it will occur on Tuesday, December 21st. Confirm the date and sunrise, sunset times with Google.
- Treadmill runs don’t count. Treadmills are cold machinations isolating you from the natural glory of your local suburban through road. Also, we need GPS to figure out the time of the sunrise and sunset.
- Give yourself enough time. You need to get dressed, get out the door and get GPS before the sun crests the horizon. You can count on the fact that GPS will take longer to sync when you’re shivering in the predawn cold. It’s best to start a bit before sunrise, and finish a little while after.
- If you’re south of the equator. Then this will be your Summer Solstice. The day will be long, it will probably pretty warm, and your badge will blue and orange.