Running notebook: Night race to help light up world

*This article by Roberta MacInnis, is featured in The Houston Chronicle.

Running notebook: Night race to help light up world

2011, November 2
To avoid the heat for much of the year, many Houston runners get their workouts done in the predawn darkness or right after the sun sets. Streetlights or other high-powered electric fixtures illuminate their way.

But imagine those runs without the electric lights and with the hazards underfoot that would remain unseen. That’s the reality for the more than 1.6 billion people worldwide who lack access to electricity and must perform daily tasks in the dark, the World Bank reports.

Solar power

One Million Lights, a charitable group whose mission is to distribute rechargeable solar lights around the world, will be the beneficiary of the Houston Energizer Night Race for a Brighter World set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West.

The battery company has pledged to donate the equivalent of 11 million hours of solar light to One Million Lights. Energizer and the nonprofit group in August made their first delivery of solar lights to students of a rural Argentinean elementary school. They also will distribute lights in other Latin American countries, as well as Ethiopia, Kenya and the Philippines.

Houston will be the first U.S. city to host the night race, which has been held internationally for several years. Other races will be held in 10 countries, from Belgium to Uruguay.

“We landed on Houston – we looked at several different markets – because we saw that Houston had a fabulous running community,” race spokeswoman Sara Miller said.

Evening wear

The race will include an 11K as well as a 1.1K family walk. Every participant will receive an 11-11-11 technical running shirt and an LED headlight to be worn during the race.

“We run at night with headlights because it mimics the experience of these families in developing countries,” Miller said.

Performers draped in LED lights will provide entertainment, and the post-race party will feature barbecue and beer. The founder of One Million Lights will be on hand – as will the Energizer Bunny.

Information and registration are available at energizer.com/nightrace.

roberta.macinnis@chron.com