“Berjalanlah walau habis terang.
Ambil cahaya cinta kuterangi jalanmu.
Di antara beribu lainnya
kau tetap –
– Walau Habis Terang, Peterpan
I’m an evening runner.
For almost 5 years before NUS, I did my long runs at 5pm after finishing homework or duties. While most runners prefer the fresh morning air or the cool night-time atmosphere, I got used to starting my runs in the hot afternoon sun and ending them just as the street lamps burst into light to welcome the evening.
Being an evening runner means running while the world changes around you. In a short span of 2 hours, sunshine drains away into twilight: staring towards the sky I see the bright blue fade into a bruised maroon, and then into deep sapphire blue and finally into a universal black. It’s about feeling the sun as it washes over my face when the run starts. And then, when my face is glazed with sweat, waiting as the night air condenses the world around me into peace.
For example: on Friday, Ke Wen and I ran a 10km circuit in the evening around Pasir Panjang, Pepys Road and Science Park. The sky had begun to darken when we hit Pasir Panjang Road and drivers were flashing their headlights at us to get off the road. At the final turn into the killer hill at Pepys Road, darkness had smothered the road. Tired from going a bit too fast, I thought of taking Ke Wen back (he didn’t know where we were going).
But we kept climbing and climbing. Along the Kent Ridge trails, there was no light. And back down to Science Park felt like taking an MRT train into an abyss: nothing but black, with fragments of light and the feel of the road underneath our feet.
I’ve ran that section of Kent Ridge Park about 10 times now. But as Ke Wen and I followed our own shadows down the hill, we were part of the evening, part of hill and sky and forest and the tap-tap of feet on asphalt. No fears of no hitting the time. No thoughts of fatigue. No team politics. No abstract reasoning. Nothing.
Just the sound of breathing in the dark. Back to the light at the bottom of the hill. Back to the track. Back to the team.
I’m an evening runner and, fortunately, I run in the absence of light without –
And running knowing that I – and others – have light within to last till the end of the run.
“Keep walking, although the lights are gone.
Taking the light of love, I will light your path.
Among thousands of others,
you’re still –