7210 Greenlake Dr N, Seattle, WA 16095 Cleveland St., Redmond, WA
The Run From Darkness To Light
by Charlea Sherman
August – 2026
Let me tell you the story of how we came back into the light.
It all began back in the modern Dark Ages, in the accursed pestilential year 2020. Virtual races and virtual reality had replaced the real things, and although we wanted to get back to the way things used to be, we seemed to have forgotten how.
There was one particular virtual race that started us on our way, the Anacortes Art Dash 5k. Dave and I were not avid virtual race fans, but we had heard that the Anacortes Art Dash had really nice, artistic tee shirts, so we figured it would be a good virtual race to do.
Our race packets arrived in the mail, and we tore into them to see how nice the shirts were. But there was no art at all on them, other than the word ‘Art’. They were entirely artless; their only redeeming quality was that they weren’t solid black.
Dave said, “This is actually the Anti-Art Dash, we should lay out a route where we are sure we won’t see any art at all.”
But where could that be? First we considered the Tacoma Tideflats or some other industrial area. We quickly gave up on that idea, as we would certainly see graffiti, some of which is remarkably artistic.
Then we considered a nice run on a trail in the woods, but natural beauty is just another form of art, and that just wouldn’t do.
How about a run around the neighborhood? No, we would see at least some kitschy yard art.
We considered running in the middle of the night so we couldn’t inadvertently see art, but figured we’d likely get run over, and that just wasn’t very appealing.
Then it occurred to us, what we needed was a Sensory Deprivation Run, sort of the running equivalent of those saltwater tanks that people can float in, in complete darkness. And that is just what we did.
We got our headlamps, making sure the batteries were tired enough so we could only see immediately in front of us, and headed up to Hyak.
Starting just before sunrise, we went into the old Snoqualmie Tunnel about a hundred yards and scratched a line in the dirt. As the tunnel is a bit over two miles long, the plan was to run a mile and a half, turn around and finish just outside the tunnel portal.
Dave’s Garmin was able to track distance by paces rather than GPS, so we had a way to measure distance. At the mile and a half turn, Dave would drop a marker which I would retrieve. Dave would run until he hit 3.1 miles and then stop and wait for me.
It was dark and cold and silent at the start. We could see a tiny point of light at the far west end of the tunnel, but other than that, nothing.
The tunnel, being an old train tunnel, was large enough that our lights didn’t illuminate anything other than the ground right in front of us. Once we started, it only took a minute or two before I couldn’t even see any light from Dave’s headlamp.
The universe is defined by time and distance, and neither of those existed in the tunnel. I ran, but there was no sense of speed, or even of how far I had gone. I passed Dave going the other way, then came upon the marker, retrieved it, and headed back.
Heading east, we couldn’t even see the far light from the portal since the tunnel has a curve just before the portal. I ran and ran and ran, but there was no evidence I was getting anywhere. But I knew the light was up ahead and the only way to get there was to keep running, so driven by hope and optimism, that’s what I did.
Then, I reached the curve and all of a sudden, there it was, the portal. I raced out of that tunnel, into a beautiful summer morning.
As I look back on it now, years later, that race was an allegory for how it was when we finally got out of the modern Dark Ages.
The year 2020 was a lot like the time I spent in the tunnel in total darkness, just running because I knew better things were coming ahead.
Year 2021 was a lot like when I finally came out of the portal into the light. The virus was tamed, and people began to remember why facts and opinions are not one and the same, why lies are bad and truth is good, even though it can be unpleasant.
Once back in the light, we relearned to work together, to be better, and to move forward together. Who would have ever suspected that the Anacortes Art Dash Virtual 5k would be such a historic turning point?
Jerry’s notes: The Art to Art race gave us six additional Grand Prix Series finishers. Congratulations to Edythe Hulet, Molly Childs, Karen Lichtenstein, Linda Walker, Kent Sizer and Allen Walker for completing their 8th race.
It appears at this point, we will have at least 7 virtual races remaining on our 2020 Grand Prix Series schedule. Still plenty of time to become a finisher.
The Art to Art race has extended it’s race until August 31st. This does not apply to the Grand Prix Series. Our deadline was August 7th.
Anacortes Art To Art Virtual Race results ………………. Grand Prix Series Players: