A week ago I ran the Neon Run in Sunderland with some friends. The Neon Run is in a similar category to the Color Run – I’m pretty sure it’s a for-profit 5k event that is based around a theme or gimmick. In this case, it was running in the dark with neon lights.
I am not against events like this at all. Some people I’ve spoken with take issue with the fact that they’re for-profit, but I think they’re really fun. And here’s why:
- They are a really great way to spend time with your friends that’s not in a pub or a restaurant, but out doing something active
- There are many people there who I would say don’t exercise on a regular basis, so this would be a new experience at an event that’s completely non-threatening
- These events are not about how fast you run, or how far you run, but how much fun you have on the route. That counts for a lot, but is often forgotten.
- There’s not many opportunities for grown adults to run around a playground that’s designed purely for their fun and enjoyment
The Neon Run started at 6.45pm when the sun had well and truly gone down. It was a particularly windy evening, and the race took place in some kind of park (not being the driver, I actually don’t know where it was held!). We were pretty bloody cold as we waited, and so took the advice of the guy on the speaker: we got ourselves a pint before we started. Now, this is my kind of event.
The Neon Run gives you a flashing wrist band to wear throughout the run, and as the sun went down and the DJ played some tunes, people started dancing. I’m guessing it was as much to keep warm as it was because they were caught up in the moment, but it was awesome to see all the flashing lights shine in the darkness.
That’s what I loved about the Neon Run. Once we set off, we soon left the noise of the race village, and we were running in the dark. Even though there were lots of people there, the atmosphere was calm and quiet, kind of like when it snows. As we ran down the path, all we could see were flashing blue and green lights from the wrist bands, like a trail of glow worms lighting the way.
There were two music stands along the way – they had intended four, but the wind prevented this. This broke the quiet, and suddenly everyone was dancing again. I learned that running on a path that’s lit up with a rotating disco ball will make you feel car sick, so that’s an important life lesson if ever there’s one.
We ran the route twice, making 5k in total, and as we finished, we were met by some Neon Warriors. These guys seemed to have a little more dignity than their equivalent at the Color Run, who were covered in coloured feathers and face paint. These guys could kick your ass and no mistake. But they also kindly posed for photos and cheered us as we finished.
I had a really good time at this event! It was expensive, and thanks to the cold, we left pretty much straight after we finished and didn’t make the most of the after-party. But the whole thing had an atmosphere of excitement, and I loved running in the dark. Plus, my friends and I just love any excuse to dress up and paint our faces. That’s what we’re about