Lights Out: Safety Tips For Running In The Dark

Thousands of runners will once again run the Las Vegas strip at night. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Racing when the lights go out is a entirely different sensation.

There’s a mystical aspect that comes with running in the dark. Anyone who runs in the evening or early morning during the fall and winter has experienced that. It’s still about putting one foot in front of the other, but your senses react differently. You can see only what a headlamp, streetlights or vehicle headlights illuminate for you.

Racing after dark is an entirely different sensation. After-dark races have been popping up all over the place in recent years. Some are organized as traditional races, while others have a glow-in-the-dark theme. The Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon will send runners down the Las Vegas strip once again, while the Honolulu Marathon continues its before-dark 5 a.m. start near Waikiki Beach.

“It’s cool, something different than what you’re used to,” says Ted Woodward, a marathoner from San Francisco who’s training for Zappos.com Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon. “Most of the races I’ve done have been during the day, but running at night has a fun vibe to it.”

RUNNING SAFETY TIPS

November is Running Safety Month and there is no better way to celebrate than to go for a run. But as daylight savings ends, sunlit days get shorter and going for a run before dawn or after dusk may be the only time to squeeze in a few miles. Use these tips to stay safe when running in the dark.

✔ Wear bright, reflective clothing, head- lamps and glow-in-the dark items that all make it much easier for drivers to spot you.

✔ Before you head out, call, e-mail or text someone where you are going and what time you plan on returning.

✔ Whether it’s a driver license or a run- ner’s ID tag such as a Road ID, an ID can end up being the most important piece of gear you carry in an emergency.

✔ It might feel a bit cumbersome to carry your phone on a run, but in the event of an emergency it could be a lifesaver.

✔ Consider running without music at night or listen through just one earphone.

✔ Running with a friend or Fido is not only safer, but also can be more fun and motivating.

Here’s a rundown of a few night races on the horizon:

• Nov. 30, GLOW IN THE NIGHT RUN, Athens, Ga., www.glowinthenight5k.com

• Dec. 2, ZAPPOS.COM ROCK ’N’ ROLL LAS VEGAS MARATHON & HALF MARATHON, www.stripatnight.com

• Dec. 9, HONOLULU MARATHON, Honolulu, www.honolulumarathon.org

• Dec. 31, EMERALD NUTS MIDNIGHT RUN, New York. www.nyrr.org

• Jan. 26, WINTER QUARTER/HALF/FUN TRAIL MARATHON, Indianapolis, www.planetadventurerace.com

• Feb. 2, THE ELECTRIC RUN, Del Mar, Calif., www.electricrun.com

This piece first appeared in the November 2012 issue of Competitor magazine. 

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