Running in the Dark

Type of Activity: Trust

Props Needed: None

Set Up: Need a nice big open space to run in. If you have more than 14 participants in your group you can make two groups. We like to provide at least 60 feet of running room – and some extra for the over-run area.  Plays well with 7 to 25 participants for 20 to 30 minutes.

Process: This is a blind running activity. So, safety is, again, of the utmost importance.  The runner will stand about 60 feet from the remainder of the group who forms an open “V” shaped gauntlet – the wide part of the “V” is open towards the runner and the small end of the “V” is open at least 6 feet. Before beginning, the runner will initiate some calls. First the runner asks, “Spotters Ready?” at which time the spotters in the gauntlet need to have their hands up and be mindful of the runner. The spotters then reply, “Ready!” The runner says, “Running!” The spotters respond, “Run Away!” At this point the runner closes her eyes and starts to run, as fast as possible, towards the gauntlet of spotters. The spotters responsibility at this point is to first move the gauntlet, if needed, from side to side in relation to where the runner is going – the spotters want the runner to end up going into the gauntlet. The second responsibility of the spotters (and most important) is to make contact with the runner to indicate to her that it is time to slow down and stop.  It is very important that the spotters use their hands to “touch” the runner (like going through the brushes of a car wash) and not “grab” the runner. The touch will indicate to the runner it is time to stop, a grab can cause a sudden stop (or clothes-line as some know it) that might cause an injury. The gauntlet is there to protect and indicate the end of the run, not stop the runner from running.  After the run, have the runner  become a part of the gauntlet so another participant can take a turn. Provide enough time for each participant to run twice – the first time there is usually some hesitation (less trust in the process), the second time there is usually more commitment (more trust) to the run.

Note: If you create two groups it is best to have a facilitator with each group, however, with one   facilitator you can manage the start of each group so they do not run at the same time.

Debriefing Topics:

  • What did it feel like to be supported by the group?
  • What pushed you outside your comfort zone?
  • What feelings did you experience?
  • How did it feel to be responsible for someone else’s safety?

For more resources see: The Empty Bag

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