Editor’s note: This story was originally published on momaha’s sister site, LiveWellNebraska.com
* * *
By Katy Healey
There’s something about running under the stars that puts a spring in Bridget Hall’s step.
The 20-year-old cross-country athlete from Council Bluffs prefers to run around 9 p.m.
“There’s nothing left to think about, and all I do is run,” she said. “It’s a lot more peaceful.”
Therapeutic, even. And, if you’ve got a thing for 5Ks, it can be fun, too.
The Midnight Run 5K is Friday in downtown Omaha. The race drew nearly 1,300 participants in 2011, its first year. Around 500 people signed up the day of the event. Race director Zach Klebba said almost 1,300 people are already signed up this year, and he expects another 500 to register before the race starts at 11:59 p.m. on Friday.
Other local nighttime races are popular, too. About 2,000 people biked through Omaha during this summer’s Owl Ride. The Glow Run, a 5K that outfitted runners with glow-in-the-dark accessories, attracted roughly 3,500 people in August.
Night races are a rare but welcome break from events that cater to early risers. It’s easier for some people to stay up for a race than to wake up for one.
Hall said though she would rather run at night, her work schedule often forced her to run in the morning this summer.
“I’d have to wrench myself out of bed, and then I’d be tired all day,” she said.
Hall, who runs track and cross country for Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, said most meets are in the morning but competing at night is a runner’s dream.
“That’s the coolest feeling ever. … It’s just you and the track,” she said.
The temperature is a factor, too. When you work out in the morning, she explained, it gets warmer toward the end of your run. If you run at night, it cools down.
Klebba said night runs cut the risk of heat-related injuries, which is particularly important given recent daytime temperatures.
Events like the Midnight Run appeal to the college crowd and noncompetitive runners, Klebba said. The event is more laid back than formal daytime races. This year, though, the race will be chip-timed to accommodate the more serious entrants.
Omaha police will block off the route, which starts at 12th and Cass Streets, to address any safety concerns. Runners are encouraged to wear the race T-shirt, a neon orange dri-fit shirt, to make themselves more visible. The shirt was included in early registration. Those who registered late or plan to sign up the day of the event can purchase a shirt for $10.
Register online at omahamidnightrun.com through Friday morning or in person beginning at 9 p.m. for $30. Proceeds will benefit the Abide Network and the Hope Center for Kids, which both work to improve the urban community in Omaha. Last year, the Midnight Run raised $25,000 for the Abide Network.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1071 email@example.com twitter.com/KatyHealey5