Happy Old Year! Before today's post, let's do our customary rundown of status updates on previous contests ...
* The New Balance MT101 giveaway and Ryders Eyewear VTX giveaway contests are both officially closed as of this evening, and I'll announce the winners for each of these contests on Saturday.
* There's still time to enter the VIVOBAREFOOT Neo running shoe contest, and to increase your odds of winning by spreading the word via return links. This contest will run through next week.
As for today's contest, I'm closing out the December giveaway bonanza with a couple of my most familiar companions: the Black Diamond Icon headlamp and Wilderness Running Company. If you're a regular reader of this website, my feelings about each of these entities are fairly well-established - and if you're a new reader, I'll just direct you to some links to help bring you up to speed.
Black Diamond's Icon has become my number one choice for ultrarunning; with 100 lumens, it's bright enough to light up the most technically challenging trails, and its long battery life will easily carry you through a full night of running. If you use its rechargeable NRG battery pack (sold separately), you can top off the charge to achieve full brightness relatively quickly, and you'll never have to worry about buying disposable batteries again.
In 2009 I did some extensive headlamp testing, including this in-depth review of the Icon and NRG pack. I also did a couple of head-to-head reviews: this one comparing the Icon to Petzl's equivalent MYO RXP lamp, and this one comparing the Icon to Black Diamond's equally impressive Spot and Sprinter headlamps. By the time the following summer rolled around, I had pretty much any headlamp I wanted at my disposal, and went with the Icon when it was time to pull a couple of all-nighters on the trail - and I never regretted the decision for a second.
As for Wilderness Running Company, my partnership with them is approaching two years now, and my professional respect for them grows more with each passing month. Sure, I'm probably a little biased because they hosted one of the coolest runs I did all year - but there's something about principal owner Stacy's passion for trail running, his business philosophy, and his commitment to provide first-class service that's extraordinarily impressive. And of course, they're an integral part of this giveaway.
To help you light up the New Year in style, WRC will award one winner a Black Diamond Icon headlamp as well as the NRG rechargeable battery pack - and if that weren't enough, we're throwing in a $25 gift card to spend on anything you like from their website. It's a value in excess of $100, and the only cost of entry is a comment below.
Since this post represents not only the end of the year but also the end of the Great Running and Rambling Giveaway Bonanza, we'll do this final contest in straightforward, rapid-fire fashion: one comment, one entry, with a winner announced Wednesday, January 5th. Big thanks to WRC, good luck to everybody who enters, and ... go!
Check out the Running Life book for a collection of our most popular columns.