There’s something extraordinary about running at night: The cool, crisp air, the bright lights twinkling against the night sky, and the feeling that while the rest of the world is winding down for the day, you’re out pounding the pavement. That’s not to mention the fact that, for some reason, it always seems to feel like you’re running faster under the cover of night.
It is for these reasons that night races have become increasingly popular. Not only are these events characterized by the same energy and excitement as traditional daytime events, they are also marked by a certain buzz that can contribute to fast times and breakout performances.
Here are five of our favorite races around the world run after sundown:
1. New York Road Runners Midnight Run
New York City, NY | December 2016
What better way to kick off a new year than by running the Midnight Run hosted by the New York Road Runners. Starting at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve, it includes a 15-minute firework display for runners to enjoy during the event. Make a night of it and come early for dancing and a costume contest preceding the race.
2. Q50 Bleau Moon 5-Mile and 10-Mile
Mandeville, LA | August 2016
Held in Fountainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana, the Bleau Moon races will satisfy the most rugged trail buff. These off-road events start at 8:45 in the evening, showcasing a full moon on a clear night. Be sure to bring your headlamp so you can enjoy the nighttime scenery on this single loop tour of this gorgeous state park.
3. Life Style Sports Run in the Dark 5K and 10K
London, England | November 2016
Attracting thousands of runners each year, London’s night sky is the real star of this event. Not to be missed, the race treats participants to a nighttime excursion through Battersea Park, a gorgeous 200-acre green space that is situated along the south bank of the River Thames. Better yet, proceeds from the event go towards finding a cure for paralysis via the Mark Pollock Trust.
4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon
Las Vegas, Nevada | November 2016
You’ll experience first-hand just why Las Vegas is known as the “City of Lights” when you run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon. The only private event to shut down the Las Vegas Strip, this race starts at dusk and is run into the night. An entirely unique way to experience Sin City, the bright lights, music, and parties along the course may just make you forget you’re running a marathon.
5. Polar Night Half Marathon
Tromso, Norway | January 2017
The largest winter race in Norway, the Polar Night Half Marathon attracts more than 1,200 runners from 35 different countries each January. Since Tromso is situated above the Polar Circle, the city sees only a few hours of sunlight in a 24-hour period this time of year, so the race is actually run in the dark during the day. This means that you have a great chance of seeing the spectacular green and purple hues of the Northern Lights stretched across the night sky during your stay.
Go out, embrace the elements, and be sure to run safely in the dark. Check out a few of our favorites from Under Armour’s full line of reflective gear below.