By Allie Daugherty
On Saturday night, February 2, hours before Superbowl Sunday hoopla gets underway, up to 10,000 people will be running around Del Mar Fairgrounds to kick off a different kind of sporting experience.
"We think this is the next big thing," says Keith Cunningham, vice president of events at VAVi Sports and Social Club, the largest athletic and social events organization for adults in Southern California.
The "thing" Cunningham's referring to is the Electric Run, a 5K race of illuminated runners energized by electronic dance music (EDM) and weaving through neon palm trees, rainbow tunnels and other "crazy lighting effects."
"We're creating a happy place where all of the energy is completely positive, joyous; and all you see is smiles on everyone's faces," Cunningham says. "There will be sound and music bumping through the entire course. It's going to be amazing."
But the kicker isn't just the electric wonderland through which the runners will be racing. It's the participants themselves: each will receive a glow kit (glow necklace, glow glasses, glow bracelet and other stuff) and is encouraged to further self-illuminate with neon, fluorescent and electric everything and anything.
"There has been such a big boom in the world of EDM and fun runs," says Cunningham. "We figured, why not do an event that incorporates both? This race isn't just another night run with people wearing glow sticks."
Ragner Relay (an overnight race) founder Dan Hill and executives at VAVi conceptualized the idea, and hope to take the event to 25 different U.S. cities before the end of 2013. Orange County hosted the inaugural Electric Run in November, which was hailed as a success, drawing upwards of 8,000 runners.
At the finish line of the February 2 event in Del Mar? An all-night EDM dance party with a slew of DJs and a positively electric vibe.
Sign up for the Electric Run (entry fee is $55 per person) at govavi.com.
Popular action sports brand Neff Headwear designed Electric Run's official T-shirt.
Founder Shaun Neff launched the company in 2002 while enrolled as an undergrad at Brigham Young University. Since then, Neff products have made it into the pop culture spotlight, propelled by celebs (like hip-hop artist Kid Cudi and rapper Lil Wayne) wearing its products; through partnerships with MTV and the like; and by sponsoring surf, snow and skate athletes who've made it to the X Games and Olympics, thereby garnering worldwide TV exposure.
"They have one of the hottest apparel and headwear brands in the game right now," says Keith Cunningham, vice president of events for San Diego's VAVi Sports and Social Club in San Diego (the company putting on the Electric Run).