Music bursts through speakers.
Neon lights illuminate the night sky.
Sweaty bodies move fast and weave around each other.
Foam, fog and paint are everywhere.
A Saturday night at a nightclub?
Nope. It’s actually a 5K run.
“Think about it as a concert meets a fitness event meets a good time,” says Jose Moreno, organizer of Saturday’s Neon Bubble Dash and director of Phoenix-based Greater Cause Foundation, the event’s organizer.
Moreno says the combination of the lights, bubbles, music and a fun run is the first of its kind in the Old Pueblo. And while you’re running, walking or dancing through the Neon Bubble Dash, there’s no chance to be bored, he says.
“Along the route we have neon glow zones, which are caves filled with fog, lights and music. We have foam zones, which is basically the same thing but it is full of 3 feet of foam,” Moreno says. “So participants are going to have the opportunity to run, get lit up; we have a paint station where they color themselves up, so it is going to be a lot of fun.”
It all adds up to an athletic event that doesn’t feel like one.
“You would never know that you just ran 3 miles because literally every .5 miles we have something engaging for you to do,” Moreno says.
At the end of the run, the “Get Bubbly” foam party takes off, featuring DJ JD from Phoenix pop radio station Live 101.5, giveaways and neon themed field games.
“This is, hands down, our largest event we do,” Moreno says. “We are the first ones in the country to add the foam component, the night, neon; you know — really create that entertainment atmosphere.”
That entertainment isn’t geared just toward the 21-and-over set.
“This is really an all-age event,” says Moreno, 29. “We want the family to be here. You are not going to be there and it’s going to be cuss words and just people drunk and drinking. We want to separate those,” Moreno says.
Most of the participants at this point are women between 16 to 30, but Moreno encourages all Tucsonans to come play on this course. He adds that they already have a 70-year-old participating, as well as a 7-year-old girl who will hold her birthday party at the event.
Moreno, who grew up here and graduated from Amphitheater High School, says that though participants are coming to have a good time, the Neon Bubble Dash’s primary goal is to serve the local community.
“We really try to work with local nonprofits; nothing wrong with the big name ones,” he says. “We want to stick with an organization that is really serving the community and being involved and being able to cut a good check at the end of the event.”
A portion of the profits will support the Arizona Children’s Association, a child welfare and behavioral health organization with offices in Tucson and Phoenix.
“They are an all encompassing nonprofit where they have various programs,” Moreno says. “It is not just one set mission, per se. They have a bunch of programs that serve the community, and I like that.”
This means attending the Neon Bubble Dash is a good deed. But that’s not all, Moreno says. “Come not expecting anything, because we are going just to blow your mind,” he said.