TURLOCK — Strong legs and lungs won't ensure a lock on victory at tonight's Neon Night Run in Turlock. The real winners will be those with "the look."
That's because the after-dark event at the Stanislaus County Fairground likely will appear as much like a rave as a race. Billed as a "luminously electrifying 5K race," Neon Night Run encourages participants to "dress in as much neon, glow-in-the-dark, illuminated gear as they can," said Manteca resident Demitrius Snaer, one of the organizers. Think glow bracelets and necklaces, available at most dollar stores. Think headlamps, or wigs à la Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Think fun.
And rather than medals going to the first to cross the finish line, awards will go to winners of a costume contest. Categories are best male, female and team '80s disco outfits.
As of Friday afternoon, about 1,000 people were signed up for the run, Snaer said. More than 120 teams are listed on the online registration page, with names including Illumi-Nation, the Glow Trotters, the Abusement Park and the Scrunchie Squad.
The runners will follow a course through the Stanislaus County Fairground that's set up to make the most of their fluorescent dance-party attire. "They're going to be running to a lot of music and through a lot of lights," said Snaer, who teaches and coaches track at Modesto Junior College and with business partner Dale Hancock owns Healthy Fit Families, which puts on the Neon Night Run. At one point in the race, runners under specialty lighting will have colored corn starch powder tossed on them. Elsewhere, they pass through a huge tent with black lighting and glowing bubbles, he said.
The run is open to participants 11 and older (adults can push strollers or wear carriers for children only if illuminated), who can run, jog, walk or even dance the course. Preregistration has closed, but you can sign up on-site tonight for $65.
Registration includes pre-race entertainment from 8 to 8:30 p.m. by Sacramento musician Diamond Dez, as well as the After Glow party until 10:30 p.m. The party will include beer, dancing and music by DJ River. Each registered runner gets one beer, Snaer said, and more can be purchased.
Neon Night Run also is a benefit. From each paid registration, $2 will go to Make-A-Wish, Snaer said. He said a portion of the proceeds also will go to two local groups that have volunteers helping tonight: the Ripon Explorers and Turlock's WorldStrides, which helps high school students take annual trips to Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
The staff at the Stanislaus County Fairground has been "awesome" in letting Neon Night Run use as much of the area as needed for a fun course, Snaer said. Sunset is about 8:15, and the first of four waves of runners will begin at 8:30 p.m. with the last at 9:15 p.m.
He said the tone of the night should be as bright as the lights. "There will be people there to run hard, and more power to them," he said, "but 90 percent of the people will be there to walk it with their friends, jog it, then party afterward."
On the Net: http://neonnightrun.com.
Bee local news editor Deke Farrow can be reached at (209) 578-2327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.