Yes, Go Glow…it is what it sounds like. This is a non-competitive night (in-the-dark) run/walk event sponsored by Half Moon Outfitters equipped with glow sticks, glow bracelets, black lights, glow in the dark paint, and music. Basically I had planned it to be a “just-for-fun” race for me. Sometimes you need a fun run to change up your race monotony, right?
Originally the run was to be capped at 350 and held at Harbison State Park. But they moved it to Saluda Shoals park. Harbison trails in the dark aren’t exactly safe, even if the trails were supposed to be lighted. Not to mention that it isn’t exactly fitted to provide the options the race is supposed to provide, such as music and “party light zones” at various points of the course. Saluda Shoals, on the other hand, is much safer in the dark. In fact, I’ve ran the Sleigh Bells Trot 5k the past two years, which is a race through the park with the Christmas lights and music. That said, they are prepped for music. However, I heard a rumor at the race last night that the reason they moved it was to allow more people to register. It ended up being a total of 616 registered when they closed registration.
According to the website, registrants would get a glow in the dark t-shirt and several glow in the dark items. On the course, there would be glow sticks all over, party light zones and a glowing finish line chute and arch. There would also be a painting area before the race where we can go to get dressed up with glow in the dark paint.
Our race packet included the race bib, the glow in the dark race t-shirt and a glow bracelet and necklace. That was it. Now I’m normally not one to complain about my race packets, but considering the registration price, I honestly expected a little more. The glow in the dark painting area was also not what I expected. They had a table with several bottles of glow in the dark paint that were being passed around so you had to grab one the minute it was set down on the table. Apparently there were paper towels to wipe your hands with but I never found the supply. I ended up going to the bathroom and washing my hands instead. Plus we thought we’d be glowing the whole time, but apparently the paint only glowed under black lights.
Some of us went crazy with the paint!
When the race started, I wasn’t exactly sure which way to face and where we were headed. I thought that having it moved to Saluda Shoals where another race has been successfully held year after year, I assumed the route would be on the road or even the paved trails. However this wasn’t the case. For the first mile, we ran through the grass on a trail that was too narrow to handle the amount of people there. The trail was not even so you had to watch for mud, holes and dips. At one point, we bottle necked for a short time where there was a fence on one side. I remember turning to Dawn who was on my left and told her that we might as well just walk cause we’re getting nowhere.
It opened up a bit after we passed the fence area, but you had several people that wanted to take up the whole width of the trail, preventing others from passing. I’m not knocking anyone for walking, but at least be courteous to others and walk to the right to allow other walkers and runners to pass on the left.
After about a mile, we finally were directed onto a sidewalk trail. My ankles and feet were thankful! However, here’s where the out-and-back started. Basically we had to keep right because about a half mile down there was a turn-around for runners to come back. Once again, the crowd was unforgiving and I had to sprint around while dodging on-coming runners with head lamps and lights. What a blinding situation. Never fear though, I only had one close call. One of our pub runners watched the whole thing. Apparently this guy dressed all in black almost collided head on with me. I honestly don’t remember it. I was too busy dodging all the people and worrying about tripping due to my eyes constantly adjusting.
The last mile and a half was easy peasy though. (Well, except for that one group that I came upon who was taking up the whole width of the sidewalk. Where’s the common courtesy?! I was able to dart past on the side off the sidewalk without injury.) I was able to speed it up and my average pace varied between 8:37 and 9:06.
The “party light” zones were set up on that last mile of the course and there were two of them. I didn’t exactly know what to expect but it basically was about 3 or 4 sets of black lights and a dj table playing music. So while you ran past the black lights, your glow in the dark paint lit right up. I couldn’t resist looking down at my legs to see my hand prints glow yellow!
My time wasn’t too shabby considering the obstacles we faced so I’m not disappointed in the results.
I hate talking too negatively about a race because I know that it takes a lot to coordinate and manage. The one thing that I did like was the guy going around asking for our feedback and taking it all in. Feedback is what helps you improve and he was open to all. The downside was all the “war” stories of people falling and hurting themselves. My suggestion for the next time is to have the course on a paved path. They have a great idea for a fun run but I believe they would be more successful with a different course. All in all, I always enjoy running and hanging with my RUI peeps.
Have you done a similar fun night race? How was your experience?