Typically, there aren't many people who exercise at midnight.
That won't be the case on Friday, June 25, as hundreds of runners and walkers will flock to Downtown Somerset for the Cool Run at Midnight 5K.
After three races down in the Lake Cumberland Run/Walk Series Powered by Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, the fourth race in the series will be a 3.1-mile event through the streets of downtown Somerset.
The Cool Run, which is currently the longest continuing 5K in the area, has always been known for helping out the local cross country programs. That will be the case in 2021, as proceeds from the event will go towards Southwestern and Somerset, along with the Phoenix Racing team.
Todd Meadows, who currently serves as the race director for the Cool Run, is all about promoting running to anyone, especially the youth in the area. He wants to see the running community in the Somerset-Pulaski County area continue to thrive for years to come.
"Our desire is to see this race benefit the next generation of runners in Pulaski County," began Meadows. "We have a strong running community here, and we want to see it continue to grow in years to come. The Cool Run benefits several area Cross Country teams including Southwestern and Somerset Christian as well as Phoenix Wellness."
The Cool Run has changed a lot over the years, but its current location and race time make it one of the year's most exciting races.
"The best way to describe the Cool Run at Midnight is 'exciting,'" Meadows explained. "There is no other 5K race in the Somerset area that has the history of the Cool Run. No other race is held at Midnight. And, the route is designed to be fast."
Racing at midnight is something that a lot of people are hesitant about at first, but once they try it, they quite enjoy it. The bright clothing and glow-in-the-dark trinkets add a fun little twist to the race, too.
"There's something about staying up late and running at midnight that gets people excited as well," Meadows continued. "I've had a lot of people say they can't stay up that late but then someone talks them into running it. Then, they love it! It's just fun. Everyone wears bright clothes, reflective things, headlamps, and/or glow-in-the-dark things. It's really fun to see."
Like a number of things in 2020, the Cool Run was canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus. Meadows, like many folks, are glad to have in-person races back in 2021.
"We've all missed running in-person races," told Meadows. "Virtual races were better than no races but nothing compares to the feeling of running with all of the other runners. It pushes you to be your best. I ran my first in-person race in May after COVID shut everything down, and I had forgotten the adrenaline rush you experience when you near the finish line and everyone is yelling. It's just hard to beat that moment."
"No matter how tired you are, the sound of people cheering gives you a bit of a boost. In-person racing is the only place you get that, and the Cool Run gives it to you in a special way as runners finish running toward the fountain downtown."
The Cool Run is one of the flattest and fastest 5K races in the area. Runners and walkers will begin the race at the fountain, go 1.55 miles down East Mount Vernon Street, and then flip back towards the fountain.
Just to give everyone a heads up, the next three races in the series are Mud Mayhem and Fun (July 17th), Pack the Pantry Relay Race (August 14th), and the Lake Cumberland Half & 10K (September 11th).
The Lake Cumberland Half is a 13.1-mile race to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Pulaski County. The course begins at Bronston on the Houseboat Capital of the World Bridge, crosses over beautiful Lake Cumberland, and then travels through parts of Burnside, Ferguson, and back into Somerset before ending at Somerset Community College.
The 10K course begins on Jacksboro St. in Ferguson and follows along the half-marathon route back to the finish line at Somerset Community College.
All half-marathon participants will receive a shirt, a finisher's medal, a race logo sticker, and other race swag.
For ten percent off the race price for the Cool Run or the Lake Cumberland Half & 10K, please enter the code CJSPORTS at checkout. To sign up, visit the Lake Cumberland Runners website.