More than 10,000 show up for neon lights and electronic music of Electric Run


Debby Garcia

A crowd of participants gather at the Travis County Exposition Center decked out in glow and the dark gear to start the 5k Electric Run course Saturday night.

Miles Hutson

A light show and celebration greeted the more than 10,000 finishers of Electric Run as they completed a colorful run accompanied by electronic music. The 5K, located outside the Travis County Exposition Center in East Austin, drew participants from UT, Austin and other Texas cities.

Electric Run, which made its first visit to Austin on Saturday, debuted in Orange County, Calif., last year. Dan Hill, the CEO of Electric Run, said the glowing and flashing apparel he saw people wearing on nighttime runs inspired him to start the 5K. Hill reached out to Latane Meade, president of VAVi Sport and Social Club, for help.

“That was really the genesis,” Hill said. “I really wanted to [transport] people into another world.”

Participants got electric lights, glow sticks, glow paint and other materials, and ran the course. The course itself was decorated with lights and projections. At the Austin run, multicolored lights illuminated umbrellas as they swung upside down off trees, red balls glowed and floated in a pond and projections and props entranced runners as they passed through different buildings. Runners were also treated to music throughout the course, provided by DJ Rap, a British producer known for her electronic music.

Hill said the crew that designed the course brought their experience from working on shows for Snoop Dogg and other top artists.

“We’ve had a lot of really experienced people on the team,” Hill said.

Still, he said, creating entrancing lighting for a 5K course is much different than creating the lighting for a concert.

“We’ve definitely made a lot of changes since Orange County,” Hill said. “In a show, all your lights are on one stage, and it’s all about programming … where we’re trying to have people run through.”

The solution, he said, is to vary the mood of the music as people go through different places.

When participants finished the race, they entered a more traditional type of light show in the Travis County Expo Center.

“At the finish line it’s just a celebration,” Hill said.

Laser lights shone through a machine-produced fog as finishers enjoyed electronic music.

Some proceeds the company collected from registrations went to a Texas charity, LeukemiaTexas, although Hill said that he could not disclose the exact amount. Latane Meade said he hoped participants got the company’s vision out of the run.

“You combine fun runs and electronic music,” Meade said. “And you get this beautiful kind of creation called the Electric Run.”

Steve Kanka, a participant from Austin who brought his family to the run, said he thought the event perfectly meshed with the personality of the city that attracted him from California.

“This is totally Austin,” Kanka said. “This is what I love about Austin.”