The night was alive with neon colors and pop music as hundreds of raced and danced in downtown Houma.
The Terrebonne General Medical Center and the Cardiovascular Institute of the South hosted the 3rd Annual Night Light Dash 5k, Saturday, to 100-150 participants, which took place just behind the TGMC parking garage. Proceeds from the event go toward providing free cardiovascular screenings to the public.
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in our area so we have to really focus on early prevention and screenings,” said Catherine Robichaux, coordinator for the Foundation of TGMC, the non profit arm of TGMC.
The event opened with a fanfare of pop music while Mimi Porche, of Fitness Frenzy, led an exercise dance from a concert stage. Multicolored lights filled the area as adults and children followed along with her.
When the dance ended, the group merged with runners at the starting line to begin the race.
At 6:15pm, the runners took off down glow stick, and glow orb, lit streets. Most of the runners wore some form of glow sticks as well.
Holden Beal, of Terrebonne High School, was first to cross the finish-line at 20:04. He said he learned of the race from his coach, and that the laid back atmosphere of the race made it fun.
Compared with track or cross country races, Beal said, “It’s more casual and just something more fun.”
Beal had also attended the event in its first year as a sophomore and said this year the course was different and easy to navigate.
The Night Light Dash grew out of a prior relay the Houma Heart and Soul Half Marathon, and Mackenzie Mistch, Event Manager, says she hopes it continues to grow.
According to Rhonda Alfred, Director of Marketing at TGMC, the event has covered 750 screenings. She said this year’s screenings can be expected around the summer, and will be advertised as it gets closer.