Runners of all ages and abilities flooded the streets of Ames on Saturday night, July 14, for the 41st running of Midnight Madness.
Run as part of the Iowa Games, Midnight Madness consists of a 5K and 10K race, as well as a children’s race run prior to the main events. If runners signed up for the race via the Iowa Games and were division winners, they would get medals for both.
Lynn Lynch is the wife of race director Roman Lynch. She said the partnership with the Iowa Games has benefited both groups.
“They take care of the registration, and we take care of the things like getting the volunteers,” Lynch said.
“The course circles through downtown Ames, down to [Iowa State’s] campus and then back to Main Street,” said longtime runner and race volunteer Al Ravenscroft.
Organizers expected an estimated 2,100 runners to participate in either the 5K or 10K. Some racers compete in both races, earning a combined 15K time and eligible for different awards. The race uses chip timing to collect race times from all participants.
The race’s entry fee got runners a race T-shirt and access to the post-race pasta dinner. Racers got a wristband for pasta and, for those over 21, all-you-can-drink beer.
“There’s a band at the party,” Ravenscroft said. “They play too loud. Runners just want to stand around and lie about how well they did. So you have to yell and you’re hoarse the next day. It’s the biggest party.”
Lynch said it’s the fun and familiar atmosphere that brings runners back each year. She also credits her husband with part of that too. Roman Lynch, who goes by the moniker “Captain Midnight,” has organized the race for 26 years and is known for getting the runners excited each year.
“They love the party atmosphere,” Lynch said. “And they love the Captain.”