Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

A Bright Idea: Lighten Up Harrisburg gears up for its second Glow Run.

Screenshot 2015-06-01 08.17.24Got glow gear?

Then you’re already prepared for this month’s 5K Glow Run, which, for a second year, will make the city a little brighter by raising money to install LED lights on streets that need it most.

Runners and walkers of all ages and fitness levels will fill Riverfront Park with neon glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets and a variety of other lights as they participate in the night-time run. And, if you lack any manner of glowing, blinking bling, don’t fret. You can always pick up some at the race.

“I was blown away by the people who responded and showed up last year,” said event coordinator Stacia Zewe of Lighten Up Harrisburg. “When you plan a party, you’re like, ‘Gosh, I hope somebody comes.’ I couldn’t believe how many people cared.”

Last year, $22,000 was donated to Harrisburg for lighting improvements along Front Street, Zewe said.

While the city donated labor for the installation of the lights, the money raised from the 5K helped replace 14 streetlights in that area, she said.

Lighten Up Harrisburg is no stranger to making the city shine brighter. The organization’s other projects have included the Walnut Street Bridge relighting and lighting work on Allison Hill.

Despite the improvement along Front Street thanks to last year’s run, the lighting project still must be completed, Zewe said. If the event can raise enough money, Lighten Up Harrisburg would like to focus on other streets, too.

“Overall, people were happy to see that something was done so quickly,” Zewe said. “Within a month of the Glow Run, we had replaced 14 lights on Front Street, so people could see that what they did helped make an immediate impact.”

To keep things fresh this year, the run will feature the fun street band No Last Call at the turnaround point to help keep runners and walkers motivated.

Also, last year’s after-party at Sawyer’s Cantina meant participants younger than 21 couldn’t celebrate post-race. In an effort to include all runners, a small party will be held at the starting point in Riverfront Park.

For Zewe, it’s still surprising to see the community event she dreamed up turn into such a popular race. A runner herself, she saw the need to provide better lighting in the city.

While she hasn’t created a hard financial goal for this year, she’s hopeful that even more money will be raised, largely due to corporate sponsors. WCI Partners, City House Bed and Breakfast, Mid Penn Bank and Road ID are among those contributing.

“Last year, I think all of us were blown away because the event was our baby, and it learned to crawl and run in the same night,” Zewe said. “It’s so different and such a good cause. It’s important to me that we keep that kind of excitement going.”

Lighten Up Harrisburg’s 5K Glow Run is set for 8:40 p.m. on June 6. The race starts in Riverfront Park, Harrisburg, just south of State Street. Pre-registered runners can pick up bibs and race information at TheBurg offices, 2601 N. Front St., 3 to 6 p.m., on June 5. Registration is $30 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under. For more information, visit www.lightenupharrisburg.com.

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