Earlier this week, I received an email with a discount code to participate in the Milwaukee Electric Run on Aug. 24.
This was actually the second time I received an email with a discount code for this particular Electric Run. Prior to the first email for that, I received one notifying me about an Electric Run in Madison on Aug. 3.
Prior to these emails, I’d never heard of the Electric Run. I didn’t pay too much mind to it when I got the first email for the one in Madison, but when I received the first one notifying me about the one in Milwaukee, I decided to check it out.
The premise? It’s like a 5K and a rave hooked up and had an illegitimate athletic party baby.
No, seriously. It’s a nighttime 5K with bright neon LED lights, glow sticks, glow sunglasses, and DJs playing loud dance music.
Some people may liken it to cosmic bowling (activity + music + glow-in-the-dark atmosphere), but from what I can tell, cosmic bowling is much tamer. Don’t get me wrong: I love cosmic bowling. And I’m pretty serious about my bowling. I do understand that you can take something you enjoy doing at a serious level, sprinkle in some additional elements of fun, and it’s still a good time.
That said, at first glance, I was pretty interested in the Electric Run. I mean, I like running. And I like flashing lights and loud dance music as much as the next person who likes flashing lights and loud dance music. However, upon further review, I’m not sure this run is for me.
The rave-like atmosphere may make you think it’s nothing more than a rave disguised as a race. But it’s not a rave.
According to its website, “The Electric Run will feature many of the same light elements that could be found at a rave but the focus of an electric run is on health and celebration.”
Okay then… so maybe it’s a race disguised as a rave???
Incorrect. There’s no tricking anyone. Electric Runs are not races.
They are untimed, and they don’t necessarily encourage you to run the whole distance nonstop (dance breaks are encouraged). The lack of timing violates my No. 1 rule for participating in distance runs: any run I participate in must be timed. I don’t do “fun runs.”
According to the website, “This is not a ‘race,’ this is an experience. Enjoy yourself and take in the sights and sounds of the course. If you like one lighting zone or a song that is playing, feel free to hang out and dance for a bit.”
Now, I may enjoy dancing. And I may, in fact, be good at it (or, at least, I like to think so). However, I’m not a partier—most certainly not a rave-goer. I don’t do drugs and I don’t support drug use. But using the same logic I employ for what criteria a race must meet for me to participate in, I’d tend to believe there are ravers out there who won’t go to raves if drugs aren’t involved. Because, well, isn’t that really the point of a rave?
Electric Runs are drug-free environments (or, at least, so they say: “There is no tolerance for drugs at the event.”).
So my bottom-line question about the Electric Run is this:
Who exactly is this run supposed to attract?
I mean, seriously? It’s an untimed 5K, so you lose all the hardcore runners right off the bat. And it’s also a drug-free rave, so you lose all the hardcore rave-goers. It’s the worst of both worlds!
Is there really a target demographic for a hybrid of a watered-down footrace and a watered-down rave?
It’s definitely not me, although I might be curious enough to go and find out.
At least if I do, I have a discount code I can use.