Black light is the centrepiece of a new races series from Just Racing (www.justracinguk.com). The Blacklight Run is a night 5K fun run focused less on speed and more on UV neon-glowing fun with friends and family. The organisers have even invented a past participle – GlowedTM – the resultant effect of being showered with UV paint.
So what are the rules? Given that you want to ‘glow’ as bright as possible, participants are required to wear any white t-shirt. Failing that, they can wear their commemorative Blacklight Run t-shirt, although like all race tees, these come up a little on the large side.
The only other rule is to get showered in as much UV neon glow powder as possible so that you shine like a beacon at the various Blacklight Zones en route. The result? To have fun and finish with a serious glow.
Think of the Color Run in the dark; just as relaxed with an after party to stay on for. Along with 3,000 or so other people lining up on Southsea seafront on a windswept March evening, it was all about the atmosphere. To see so many kids and families taking part together (and braving the freezing cold wind whipping in off the Solent) showed how all-encompassing sport can be.
Having turned up fashionably late we found ourselves at the back of a long line of people waiting for the off. With people set off in waves, we forced our way through the neon-coloured crowds to get as close to the front as possible, as I had decided to use this as a 5K time trial.
This is not a race, rather an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and walk, jog or run the route. If you do want to have a half-decent run out, then getting near to the front will certainly help. Weaving through a mass of whopping, disco music-driven runners is not easy, especially in some of the darker areas of the course.
Don’t expect to set a PB; there are no timing chips. And, according to my GPS watch, the race was 2.76 miles, not a distance recognised yet in the record books.
That aside, this is a unique event. It’s fun, which is something we can all forget about in our desire to constantly challenge ourselves against the clock or our fellow competitors. For once, the old adage that it’s not about the winning but the taking part that counts rings true.