The American won his first Wings for Life World Run in 2014 in Florida in blazing sunshine. He won his second in Melbourne in the depths of night, running almost 13km more in the process.
At the beginning, he was scared of going for night-time training runs. “Would I find my way? Would I be able to see enough? Would I be visible enough? Who would help me if something happened? Animals are often more daring at night than they ought to be.”
But his concerns soon dissipated. Preparation and the right equipment, he learned, are half the battle. Then the advantages of running at night are huge.
“All your senses are really sharp. Your activity level is through the roof. If I’m out running at night, I feel like a superhero with magic powers. Then you get that tingling sensation you get from doing something exciting, almost like you got when you were a kid. Everyone thinks you’re in bed, but you’re outside running about. That gives those training runs a little extra kick.”
Wardian’s nocturnal sorties are extensive. “Sometimes I’ll be out for five or six hours. The city feels different at night.”
He has one vital tip for anyone who wants to venture out of their daylight comfort zone. “If you’re planning to do long night-time runs,” he says, “learn to eat at all times of day and night.”
Michael Wardian will compete at the 2016 Wings for Life World Run in Japan, which, conveniently, starts at 8pm.
Bright Stuff: Handy items for a run in the dark
Wings for Life World Run 2016