Summer temperatures in Oklahoma always fall into one of two categories: There’s hot, and then there’s really hot.
There is always a plethora of outdoor events available in Oklahoma City, but when the temperatures shoot past 100, some people balk in favor of air conditioning. And running outside? You can’t even walk without melting into a puddle.
Fortunately, the geniuses at City Arts Council came up with the Midnight Streak, a 5k run and arts event that takes place after dark. The blessed lack of direct sun makes a huge difference — normally around 20 degrees, and the atmosphere of the run makes things cooler yet.
“Cooler Runnings” is the theme for the annual Midnight Streak. The name is a play off the 1993 movie Cool Runnings about a Jamaican Olympic bobsled team, as well as an open statement for why City Arts Council chose to set its 5k at a less-than-typical time.
“We wanted to call it Cool Runnings,” said Rob Crissinger, spokesman for City Arts Center, “but it's still Oklahoma. So we thought, 'OK, let’s not say that it’s cool, let’s say that it’s cooler.'”
Cooler is good enough for most people. In the 2011 Midnight Streak, more than 1,000 runners participated, ranging from serious competitors to social joggers and walkers.
“I’ve heard that, for a lot of people, this is the best 5k of the year,” Crissinger said. “The arts community comes out, and it’s at night, and it’s unique.”
The male and female winners with the best overall times will receive an original piece of art created in City Arts Center’s ceramics studio. The top three finishers in each age group will receive medals.
Since the event is a fundraiser for the City Arts Council, it’s only natural that the Midnight Streak would show off OKC’s artistic, as well as athletic, side. Live music will be provided by reggae/ska group Sunny Side Up, keeping with the Jamaican theme. An arts and crafts tent is set up for the young and young-at-heart to make glow-in-the-dark art, and the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club will be on hand with telescopes for stargazing.
Additionally, the Eleanor Kirkpatrick Gallery’s Soaring Voices exhibit will be open throughout event hours, so visitors can duck inside for an air-conditioned break and take in some art. Soaring Voices features contemporary ceramic work by Japanese women artists. It is one of the four international exhibits the City Arts Council does each year, made possible with the help of Midnight Streak.
Food and beverages will be available for all attendees, and Subway will provide post-race sandwiches and cookies to the runners. Restaurant spokesperson Jared Fogler will also be present to announce the winners of the third annual Subway Oklahoma City Weight Loss Challenge before the race.