'Sprinter' Headlamp Made for Runners of the Night

Winter’s short days and looong, dark evenings mean more time outside at night. For me, often working 9 to 5 like much of the population, that includes running trails and on roads in the fading hours after work with a headlamp on.

Built just for “runners of the night” like me, the Sprinter Headlamp from Black Diamond has features that allow runners to see and be seen. Its main L.E.D. sports a dimmer adjustment –- hold the button down and the light decreases and increases in a brightness cycle until you’ve found the right level of shine.

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Trail of light: Time-lapse image exposes headlamp’s “see and be seen” front and rear beams

Its beam, rated at about 75 lumens (spring 2012 model), has an “ovalized” shape made for runners. It shines on the trail to expose rocks and other obstacles before I trip. The headlamp fits close and weighs 3.5 ounces — pretty much unnoticeable as you run.

A bonus: The sprinter adds a blinking red taillight to the headlamp equation. Most bikers won’t ride without a “rear red blinky” light at night, so why not road runners, too? This headlamp gives you multiple strobe modes to catch a driver’s eye.

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Bright white on front, blinking and red from behind

New for the spring 2012 model, which comes to market later this winter, Black Diamond adds a USB charger option to the Sprinter — no throw-away batteries needed. For power, the company quotes a 6-hour charge time for the lithium-polymer battery sucking juice from a laptop port. In use, at full blast, the lamp can then shine for up to 5 hours before another plug-in to charge.

Overall, I have few complaints. The Sprinter has served as a solid companion on night runs. The upgrades on the spring 2012 model (USB charging, a brighter L.E.D., and a reduced price to $69.95) make the Sprinter a no-brainer for anyone who heeds the call to run at night.

—Billy Brown is editor and founder of www.trektechblog.com.

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Low profile: Headlamp weighs just 3.5 ounces on the head

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