2,200 ready to run in Midnight Madness

Emily Arthur

The term “midnight madness” is taking on a whole different meaning this summer in Ames.

The phrase commonly associated with the first practice of the college basketball season is giving way to a whole other type of sport, running.

The 30th annual Midnight Madness begins Saturday, and features a 10K bicycle fun ride, a captain kid’s run, a 5K walk or run, the featured 10K race, a party for both the young and the old and an awards ceremony.

The course is designed to start from 5th Street adjacent to City Hall and finish just east of Clark and Main Street.

The route circles around downtown toward Iowa State University before coming to an end.

The race is unique in that it begins in the evening and ends after dark.

The 10K bicycle fun ride will kick off the madness at 6:30 p.m. with the captain kid’s run following at 7 p.m.

The 5K run or walk will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the 10K race will start at 8:30 p.m.

The post-race party will run from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and includes a picnic meal, beer, pop, fruit and live music.

The awards ceremony will begin at 11 p.m.

Race coordinator Roman Lynch said that this a big year for the race and that he’s expecting many people to come to the event.

“We’re expecting more participants than usual,” he said.

“There should be about 2,200 people involved.”

Lynch will continue a tradition of dressing up like Captain Midnight complete with a cape and mask. An old tradition says that “no one misses the party or leaves before the clock strikes midnight or before Captain Midnight tells a joke.”

Throughout its 30 years of existence, Midnight Madness has featured races of all distances, with a 20K being run until 1987.

The history for the race continues to be hard to track.

The year 1972 appears to be the year in which founder Karl Larson started the race, but with historical inconsistencies, no one really knows.

Despite this, the 30 years of Midnight Madness have been special for everyone involved.

Beth Henriksen, 45, Ames, will be participating in the 5K this year.

Henriksen has been involved in Midnight Madness for 10 years, and in the past, has run both races.

“It really depends how tired I am after one race,” she said.

“They set it up, so you can do both. The heat always plays a big factor when deciding whether to run both.”

The temperature was in the 80’s for last year’s race, and Henriksen said that the runners are expecting the same kind of weather.

“It’s always so hot,” she said.

“You learn to prepare for the heat. I know of some people who don’t like the race because of how hot it is, but it doesn’t bother me.”

Henriksen said that she has competed in a variety of races over the years, but that two Ames races, Midnight Madness and Run for the Roses, are two of her favorites.

“Ames has two wonderful races, Midnight Madness and Run for the Roses,” she said.

“I run about 20 or more races a year, and these races are my favorites. You just get more out of what you put into it.”

Henriksen said that she’s benefitted from the opportunity to participate in not only the race, but also all the activity afterwards.

“It’s just a great time to get together with runners and walkers,” she said.

“You get a nice t-shirt, there’s food and drinks, and you get to visit with everyone afterwards. It’s just a great time.”

Cash awards will be given on both an individual and team basis with amounts ranging from $75 to $500 with special “one of a kind” prizes also being rewarded.

Participants of all ages, from all locations are expected to participate.

For those still interested in competing in the race, there’s still time to sign up.

Registration on the day of the race will be $25 and can be paid from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 6th Street and Clark Avenue, adjacent to the start line and across the street from the party area.

Results will be posted on Sunday at www.fitnesssports.com.