Dressed Up and Doin’ It After Dark: Night Races and Costumed Comps

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CalendarParanormal Mountain Bike Race
Charlottesville, Va. • October 17

This six-hour endurance race, which starts in the late afternoon and moves into the dark autumn evening, has become a must-do in the Central Virginia MTB scene. After the closing of the popular Panorama Farm trails, the event moved to Tevendale Farm, which is filled with much of the same pastoral open field riding mixed with wooded twisty singletrack. Riders also get a great blend of short steep climbs and surprise descents. Five-minute time bonuses are awarded to bikers in costume.

Blue Ridge Burn 10K/5K
Charlottesville, Va. • October 17

Excuse the shameless plug for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s one and only annual trail run, which has been taking place for over a decade. It’s not a night race, but it deserves a mention for the costume tradition that has endured since the event’s inception. Come out to Walnut Creek Park clad in a space suit or leotard and run the moderately difficult singletrack of the 10K or the more mild 5K on the dam loop.

Ghouls & Fools NightTime Trail Run
Reading, Pa. • October 17

The wacky trail running community in Reading likes to put on some zany races. For instance, this one promises “downed logs, lots of rocks and roots, wildlife with tasers, and dead boy scouts that must roam the earth until they have accumulated enough merit badges to ‘move on.’” We’re pretty sure they are kidding about the last two. But one thing they’re not kidding about is the reward you get for running this rugged seven-mile course in the dark: an Oktober Fest-style celebration with brats, beer, and Jagermeister shots.

Into the Darkness 4 Mile Night Trail Run
Roanoke, Va. • October 24

While the economic downturn staves off the pending development of Explore Park, you can still enjoy the Star City escape’s 8.5-mile network of singletrack built by IMBA right along the Roanoke River near the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s no better time to tackle these well-made trails than this annual four-mile night race. Glow sticks will line the trail and add to the spooky vibe, but a headlamp or flashlight is also required.

Flight of the Vampire 5K
Brevard, N.C. • October 31

Earn the candy and caramel apples with this popular annual race. Nearly 400 speedy bloodsuckers take to the starting line on South Broad Street at dusk and dash for 3.1 miles through the downtown darkness. The race coincides with the weekend festivities of Brevard’s longstanding Halloweenfest.


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