Even if you have been living in a cave for the past few years, you probably would still have noticed that there has been a serious increase in the number of people running. And we are not just talking about an increase in Lycra sales, marathon applications and protein shakes. Parks are filled with them on Saturday mornings, and our inboxes and Facebook feeds are equally filled with requests to sponsor their efforts.
However, more recently we have seen a shift in why and how people are running. First came the extreme assault courses such as Tough Mudder – a 12-mile long obstacle course designed by the armed forces and sold as “probably the toughest event on the planet”. People didn’t just want to run long distances, they wanted to do it through mud and barbed wire, and push themselves to their absolute limit.
Then came Run for your Lives where the focus shifted to entertainment rather than hard work. This run involves a 5k obstacle course where you are chased by Zombies, as a reward at the end of your ordeal an apocalypse party awaits you where you can dance the night away with the un-dead.
This doesn’t really sound like our idea of fun, but this trend for more immersive running experiences seems to be going nowhere. And the party element is only increasing. This summer we saw Colour Run across many European cities, where the runners wore white outfits that they splattered in coloured powder along the way. If you happened to stumble across the event by accident, you might think Holi festival celebrators were being chased by zombies.
The latest running event that we have seen however is our favourite. Electric Run has taken the immersive experience to a whole new level. Runners are transported to a different world. The route includes an electric wonderland of lighting set to music. Different zones have been created, each with a distinct mood to energize and inspire you – and participants are encouraged to dance their way around as much as run.
This sounds to us like something you would stumble across late at night at Glastonbury festival, but is being brought to cities across the world. We’ve seen attempts to marry clubbing with exercise before, from Gym Box to Dance Dance Party Party, but Electric Run has taken these one step further- into a truly immersive realm. Perhaps we are about to see a new dawn of Saturday night partying.