It is August once again Lexington, and while that does mean that it is time to think about back to school shopping, it also means it is time for “A Midsummer Night’s Run”, the evening of fun and fitness sponsored by Central Baptist Hospital and Bluegrass Family Health. What makes this race unique is that the race, as the name clearly states, takes place at night, 8:30pm Saturday August 7th.

This end of the summer tradition is a great opportunity for the whole city to come together and do something active. Governor Ernie Fletcher has announced an initiative called “Get Healthy!”, which if being funded by $450,000 from the Centers for Disease Control, and has a goal of reducing the prevalence of diseases related to obesity. Most of us made a New Year’s resolution to exercise more, but that was six months ago and, be honest now, have you really kept up your end of the bargain? Probably not, which is why you need to drag your sorry butt downtown to the corner of Mill Street and Vine Street If you have not participated in the event before, you may be surprised to learn that “A Midsummer Night’s Run” is not only the 5K race, which for those of you who slept through that day in math class is about 3.1 miles. Although that is the race that has the most exposure, it is one of only three races being held.

The first stage of the night is the One Mile Fun Walk/Run. Unlike the 5K, this is not supposed to be a competitive race, but is a chance for runners and non-runners alike to do something together. It is open to adults, children, babies in strollers (provided they are pushed by adults), and yes, you serious runners are also welcome. The Fun Walk/Run will begin at 6, which will leave you plenty of time to prepare you children for the next part of the night, which is “The Fastest Kid in Town” race, open to ages 1-12.

The Main Attraction is still the 5K, and not just because you receive a cool looking T-shirt when you sign up. A 5K is a great distance for a community race, because it can be long enough for the more serious runners, but short enough for the more novice of us lacing up the old running shoes. Since this race, because of its popularity and reputation for fun, attracts a lot of people who may not run on a regular basis, ACE Weekly has scoured the Internet for tips and advice, and went to the guru of running in Central Kentucky John Sensenig of John’s Run/Walk Shop. John’s Run/Walk Shop has been around for 26 years and has been helping out with “A Midsummer Night’s Run” since its inception. In his own words, the Run/Walk Shop, “is not just a shoe store, but is a community resource. We help out in races to represent the runners, to give them what they expect from a competitive race and to help encourage a community.” Who better to get your through a hot summer night?

First things first, you must be hydrated. Although the race will take place at night, the humidity will still be high, especially when you have this many people crammed into downtown. But, what to drink? Water, Gatorade, Red Bull? “For most people, water is perfect,” stated Sensenig. “Unless you are running a marathon or over an hour, Gatorade is not really necessary. The important thing is to avoid simple sugars, because they will slow the hydration.” This means that colas and energy drinks are not going to give you “wings”, regardless of what those funny British commercials might say.

Most people in the Atkins-crazy age avoid carbohydrates, but any racing advice almost always includes the need to have carbs in your system to help with energy. In a 5K race, as opposed to a marathon, you may not need to load up. According to Sensenig, “Simply eat your normal meal, but maybe a little lighter. Avoid a huge, greasy meal, unless you want to throw up on the course.” Since this race is at night, you have a lot more time than you normally, just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to digest your meal.

As Mars Blackmon might say, “Its gotta be the shoes!” In any sort of race, this is true. Although a 5K is not a marathon, running in an old pair of shoes is not going to be good for you. “If you have a good pair of running shoes, stick with those,” advises Sensenig, “but if they are shot, you are better off in a new pair. Nowadays, you can easily run a race in new pair of shoes.” Another important factor is socks. Blisters can be a big problem with casual runner, so a good pair of socks can help out a lot. Sensenig believes in socks with wick dry material. “You need to avoid cotton socks. Coolmax, which is a wick dry material, can help you avoid blisters.”

Warming up is an important step, even for a 5K. If you have never participated in this type of race, one of the things you will immediately notice is that it is crowded and there might not be a lot of room to warm up or stretch. “You don’t want to do a whole lot of stretching,” Sensenig cautions, “You want to do some light jogging and then stretch afterwards. Avoid the crowd and try to get a proper warm up. Most people do not warm up enough.”

As far as the most important things to remember, Sensenig offers these Top 5:

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Listen to your body. Don’t get swept up in the crowd and start out too fast. This will hurt you in the long run.
  3. Avoid cotton. Do not run in your race t-shirt, the cotton will absorb sweat and weigh you down. Once again, Coolmax or any wick dry material will work.
  4. Relax. If you want to go hard, save it for the end, when you can pass some people and feel good about yourself.
  5. Enjoy it! A lot of people worry about finishing last, but you will not be last, unless that is what you really want to do.

The entry fee is $17 and you can register for the race at John’s Run/Walk Shop at 317 South Ashland through Friday August 6th. On race day, you can sign up outside the Radisson or register online through August 6th at That web site also features a map of the race course, which is always a good thing to look at before you hit the streets The race this year features “Chip Timing”, a technology that will help you register a more accurate time. And remember, above all, “A Midsummer Night’s Run” is fun. According to 4 time participant Tyler Mainous of Morgan-Keegan, “There’s nothing like the electricity created by three miles of cheering fans. I just imaging they are all yelling for me, and it helps me run faster.” n

Registering for the race

You can register in person at John’s Run/Walk Shop through August 6. You can pay with cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. On race day only, registration will be available at the race center from noon until 8pm outside of the Radisson Plaza Hotel. Registration fees for all races are $15 and $17 beginning Thursday, August 5). Registrants may compete in all races in which they are eligible.

Sign up for events outside the Radisson Plaza Hotel on the corner of Vine Street and Mill Street.

All race numbers, T-shirts, chips and race packets will be distributed at the time of registration. If you have already registered online or through the mail, you can pick up your race materials at John’s Run/Walk Shop at 317 South Ashland Ave. until August 6th. Come race day only, packets may be picked up at the corner of Vine and Mill streets from noon until 8pm.

Awards for this year’s race will be given on the basis of race time, not net time. The top 10 female and male runners will receive awards. Additionally, the top three female and male runners in each age group will receive awards.

Race Day Schedule

1 Mile Fun Walk/Run - 6pm
Family fun in our more casual event - adults, kids, runners, babies in strollers...everyone’s invited!

Fastest Kid in Town - 6:45pm
Races for children ages 1-12.

5K Race - 8:30pm
Individuals compete for the best time in our main event.

Age Ranges
0-8; 9-15; 16-19; 20-24; 25-29; 30-34; 35-39; 40-44; 45-49; 50-54; 55-59; 60-64; 65+

Saturday’s Run Routes

Main and Vine between Broadway and Midland and all intersecting streets from 5:30pm to 6:30

Main and Vine between Jefferson and Walton and all intersecting streets from 8pm to10pm

See Race Route map below for clarification.