I have ran the Night Run (formerly Night Run for the Arts) for several years in its previous Scottsdale location, but was very excited for this new Tempe location, closer to home.
I received a free entry through my running group, RunEatTweetAZ. Several of my fellow club members were doing the race. Even a large group from my women’s only running group came.
They offered packet pickup the day prior, but it was not conveniently located for me. Instead I arrived early, and parking was a breeze. However, packet pickup/expo was about a ½ mile walk from the parking garage. I was able to pick up my packet pretty easily and walked back to the car. We were given glow wristbands, which were kind of fun. We were treated to a stunning sunset while we waited for the race to start.
I hadn’t really studied the course, but thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. The start was so crowded I never even heard a horn or anyone say Go! The first 2 miles were very straightforward but once we crossed the bridge over the lake, things started to get confusing. There were 2 different distances – a 5k and an 8k. I was running the 8k. Once I crossed the bridge I was expecting to split off from the 5kers so I kept checking to make sure I hadn’t missed a turn. The actual split was confusing, especially since it was so dark. I had to turn my music way down and pay attention.
I thought it would get less congested once I passed the 5k split/finish. Wrong. We had to do one more loop over the bridge, and at this point were were merging with 5k walkers/stroller pushers who were only on their first lap. I came to a complete standstill. These people were 3-4 across on a very narrow bridge with their strollers and I couldn’t pass. I almost fell 2 times since I was actually trying to run fast and pass them. It was very frustrating.
Once I made it to the finish, I was relieved. However, it was SUPER dark. Very poorly lit. I couldn’t figure out where to go or how to get out of there. I was looking for a results screen to check my time/place but couldn’t find one. I never even realized I could scan my bib for results. Duh!
Then the unthinkable happened…I actually FORGOT to get my medal! This has truly never happened before. No one handed me a medal when I crossed the line. I never even saw a medal area until 10 or so min later after I had been wandering around. I literally bumped into the medal table. I later heard that they ran out of medals. Hard to believe since they were so hard to find, but it seemed like they were being given out freely, no one was checking to see if they were actual participants.
My GPS showed the course to be a little long, I ended up with 5.09 miles. That may have been due to going out of my way to dodge some slower people. I finished 6th in my age group out of 50. If I hadn’t stopped to text back my babysitter, I just might have made it!
If I do this race again next year, I would only run the 5k. That way I wouldn’t have to deal with the cluster of people on the 2nd loop of the 8k run. I like that everyone gets a medal, I like the cool shirts and running at night. The location is great. I think the organizers have a few things to work on for the future, but this is a very unique event for the Phoenix area and I hope it continues to do well #runeattweetaz.
Hi, I'm Emily! I'm an avid runner in Arizona with a passion for travel and racing around the country!