Night runs are a neon-lit party that's always moving
Races in Europe, Australia and Israel are as much about fun as fitness.
When you're out for a night on the town, you know that the lights, the people around you and the overall festive atmosphere can make for a memorable evening. But imagine the memory you'll have if you see thousands of neon-clad runners jogging toward you.
That's the scene that's taken place in locations all over the planet during various night runs, races that not only take place when the sun goes down, but generally incorporate a party vibe along with the reflective clothing and water bottles.
Tel Aviv's Night Run has been held since 2007. The event that was held on Oct. 28 of this year was organized by the Kapaim Group, which also organized the Tel Aviv Marathon. The approximately 22,000 participants ran a 10K course that took them through the heart of the city. The runners were rewarded for their efforts with music, food and fun in Tel Aviv's massive HaYarkon Park.
What's the appeal to racing at night, besides the opportunity to run with glow sticks? "You don't have to get up really early to prepare for a race, that usually kicks off early in Israel because of the warm weather," Einat Torres of Kapaim told From The Grapevine. In addition, a night run has "a special vibe and energy, especially in a non-stop city like Tel Aviv. Everything is open and people are cheering."
As much as people may be hyped up for an average 10K run in their hometown, there's something about running in a group after dark that just pumps everyone up, from the runners to the more than 30,000 spectators who were cheering them on. Scenes from the 2013 Nike-sponsored run bear that out: it looks more like a concert and party that just happened to be interrupted by an hour-long race.
Nike has been especially active in mounting night runs across Europe. In 2013 and 2014, they sponsored "We Own The Night" 10K runs in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and Milan, each run jam-packed with events surrounding it, from after-parties to light shows to DJ-fueled music during the race. A similar race, called She Runs, is held in Sydney, Australia. In the all-female races, "thousands of girls claimed the night in an energetic celebration of running, music, friendship and the after-glow of giving their all," according to a Nike press release.
To prepare the racers for the Nike runs, the company sponsored a six-week training program, which included training sessions in locations like the Eiffel Tower, boutique shopping excursions and private concerts from stars like Jessie J.
Runners participate the 2013 Nike We Own The Night 10K race in London. (Photo: Courtesy of Nike)
Prepping for a night run is a little different than the ones people do first thing in the morning, precisely because the run takes place at the end of the day. "Preparations to a night run should include moderate eating and small portions during the day, getting enough fluids and making sure you don't tire yourself out during the day, because the race is in the middle of the week, usually after a work day," said Torres.
And as much as any long-distance run is about fitness, the night runs really try to take advantage of the cities they're in, including Tel Aviv. This year's race, according to Torres, was more urban-centric than previous night runs. The runners were able to pass through "all the main streets and boulevards, including the city hall and culture square. Its a very exciting and interesting course." And, as this videos of the race showed, it looked like a heck of a lot of colorful fun, too.
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