The 10 Best Races After Dark
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
Who says Disney is just for kids? Night owls prowl at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon in Florida. The 13.1-mile November race starts with fireworks at 10 p.m., taking runners through Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, lit up for the occasion. Movie characters, music, and more line the course, while costumed runners stop for photo-ops. But the race is just a warm-up to the Finish Line Party at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, where revelers toast with vintages and vittles from more than 25 global markets serving up snacks from six continents. The party bumps until 4 a.m.—with DJs, live bands, character meet-and-greets, and iconic Epcot rides. Race registration includes park admission and $10 gift card to get the party started.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon
Run Sin City at its best—after dark—at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon. Some 30,000 runners finish under the blinking lights of the Las Vegas Strip beside The Mirage volcano. This weekend-long November party, with a Saturday night 5K and Sunday night main event, includes the Roca Patron Start Line Festival—headlined in 2014 by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Live bands line the course and runners get hitched or renew vows at a Run-Thru Wedding Chapel. Not to be missed are the Running Elvi (yep, that’s Elvis plural), hundreds of racers costumed as The King, along with runners dressed as showgirls and other Vegas luminaries. Plus, race registration earns you entry to three nights of open bars at hot spots like TAO Nightclub, LAVO Lounge and Hakkasan Las Vegas.
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Glow in the Park
There’s a lot of luminosity at Glow in the Park’s 5K fun runs around the U.S.: glow paint, glow powder, glow water, and glow tunnels, not to mention the glow accessories that come with registration. Runners clad in white navigate foam pits, water hoses, powder guns, and an inflatable slide to get to the finish-line after party of this cross between a black light run and color run. Expect strobe lights and waves of runners who aren’t there to finish fast, but to get their glow on.
Energizer Night Race For A Brighter World
Bright lights, big cities. From Chicago to Chile and South Korea to South Africa, more than 220,000 runners have joined the Energizer Night Race For A Brighter World. With an Energizer headlamp as their guide, runners in 2014 helped the One Million Lights charity donate 14 million hours of solar light to the 1.3 billion people living without electricity worldwide. With races in more than 20 countries on five continents, the three-year old series has donated over 36 million hours of solar light combined. Runners at the USATF certified American 5K get a timed course, headlamp, shirt, Energizer bunny ears, and pre- and post-race entertainment.
NYRR Midnight Run
Ring in the New Year at the NYRR Midnight Run in New York City’s Central Park. The four-mile race starts at the stroke of midnight with a 15-minute fireworks show, but the dance party with DJ and live performers begins at 10 p.m., the costume contest and parade goes off at 11 p.m., and the after-party rocks until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. More than 4,500 runners skipped the ball drop in Times Square for the 35th annual race, which included an on-course sparkling-cider station, laser tunnel, and flashing bracelets for every runner. Be sure to bundle up: Revelers braved 22-degree temps in 2013.
Insomniac Night Trail Run & Relay Series
Runners explore the Arizona desert at the seven races in the Insomniac Night Trail Run & Relay Series from May through November. With names like Punisher, Thrasher, and Sinister, distances range from 5K to 75K on trails that mix smooth dirt with rocky scrambles, sharp inclines, hairpin turns, screaming descents, and rugged terrain through Arizona’s regional parks. Race perks include stocked on-course aid stations, an iced coffee bar, and race goodies like tech tanks or sports bag. Runners have the option of buying a discounted Black Diamond headlamp with registration to help them navigate the night.
Screaming Pumpkin Prediction Marathon & Relay
Running fast won’t earn you the win at the Screaming Pumpkin Prediction Marathon and Relay in Peoria, IL. The October race through the 160-year-old Sprindgale Cemetery—home to 78,000 dearly departed, 230 acres of hills and 6.55 miles of roads lined with 5,000 glow sticks—rewards the runner who finishes closest to midnight without going over. Runners choose their own start times based on their predicted finish. Watches are forbidden, and relay runners, family and friends can’t share time or pace info. Make it back before the stroke of midnight to win a wand and tiara. Everyone else gets a pumpkin. Regular 6.55-mile, 5K, and kids races round out the evening, along with a costume contest, live band, and post-race nosh.
New Year’s Race Los Angeles
Run home base under the lights of Dodger Stadium at the New Year’s Race Los Angeles. The half-marathon, 10K, 5K and kids races run the Saturday evening after New Year’s Day. Nearly 6,000 runners come from over 20 countries to tour the City of Angels at night, including a run around the bases at the iconic ballpark. The course through Downtown LA, Chinatown, and Elysian Park is filled with rolling hills to challenge any New Year’s resolution. Runners earn a medal, hooded sweatshirt, or tech shirt based on distance, and the satisfaction that they started the year right.
Run, walk, or dance through lit-up lands of light magic at the Electric Run in two-dozen cities around the U.S., and another 16 countries across the globe. Runners adorned with LED bracelets and glow sunglasses light up the night in costumes and their party best. Then they rave through themed dreamscapes of sight and sound, dubbed “courselands,” including an Electro Rainforest, Rainbow Road, Electric Avenue, Sweet Tooth Acres, Under the Sea, and more. After the 5K run, a DJ mixes beats at the massive finish celebration, with neon trees, lasers, libations, and lights galore.
The Illuminations Half and St. Nick at Night 5K series tours runners though the luxury JW Marriott Phoenix Dessert Ridge Resort & Spa in Arizona and JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in Texas. The races run through the resorts’ championship golf courses, home to the LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix and Valero Texas Cup in San Antonio, illuminated for the occasion. Finish indoors at the December Texas run with hot chocolate, holiday fixings, and a post-race light show. Room discounts are available for runners, who earn a medal, long-sleeve tech shirt in men’s and women’s cuts, and free race photos at both events.