Getting a good cardiovascular workout with strobe lights and blaring party tunes as companion doesn’t have to happen in a club. With Run Happy 2013, the clubbing ambience is part of the enjoyable experience that lifts pounding your feet out of its usual tedium and monotony.

5,000 equally festive runners turned up on Nov 16 at the scenic Marina Barrage decked out in all sorts of party getups – from glow sticks adorned on wrists to strobe lights pasted on running shirts.

Who needs an iPod when you have head-bopping music blasting through speakers and vibrant strobe lights set up at the main holding area?

Tickets for the run were priced at $45 each for early bird registration, discounted from the normal $55.

Similar to last year’s inaugural run organized by sports brand Brooks, the unconventional 9 km distance (given that most run events cap theirs at 10km) was intentionally planned to let runners divert whatever energies they would have expended on the last km to dance the night away.

This also explains the apt slogan “Save Your Last KM To Party” for the event, which stood out in a string of multi-coloured letters on the back of each white Run Happy 2013 shirt given to all participants pre-race.

2km into the run, which flagged off its first of 3 waves at 7:30pm, many were pleasantly surprised to find their shirts suddenly aglow as they entered the ‘Glow Zone’ – essentially a short stretch of tent with ultraviolet lights ingeniously shining down on participants.

It was a breath-taking experience for those who revelled in the lush, iconic beauty of The Singapore Flyer, Esplanade and Marina Bay Sands, as  they continued zipping along the stretches of Gardens By The Bay and Waterfront Promenade, in the cool post-rain night air.

To keep spirits going, deejays spinning adrenaline-pumping tunes were at 2 locations along the race route.

As if the upbeat tempos weren’t enough to keep the spirits alive, supportive onlookers along the pubs and restaurants outside Marina Bay Sands  cheered the runners on at the 6km mark, which made for a heart-warming scene.

Resident Zouk deejay, The Professor, was stationed near the finishing line, greeting the tired but nevertheless happy runners with addictive House and Disco beats.

Of course, the night was still young, and participants began mingling in the after party, forming evident queues at booths set up by various sponsors distributing freebies. This included beers by wheat beer brewery, Erdinger, and skincare products from American cosmetics brand Kiehl’s.

Many gathered in front of the main stage to participate in a lucky draw event, where winners were identified by their race bib numbers. The hope was palpable as every runner present (proverbially) crossed their fingers in the hopes of winning the grand prize – a pair of tickets to Gold Coast, Australia. Headset manufacturer Jabra sponsored some other prizes as well.

Run Happy 2013 eventually drew to a close after the announcement that 35-year-old project manager, Keith Lim is the lucky new owner of the coveted pair of air tickets.

“I was totally surprised, as I did not expect it. I’m just happy to be able to treat my girlfriend to a nice vacation,” Keith, told UrbanWire on his win.

When asked how they felt about the experience, many runners were pleased with the smooth run of events. Some also noted improvements from the previous year’s run.

“I like how the race was split into 3 waves this year, making it less crowded at the start line. The booths are also more organised this time,” said 29-year-old project manager, Sebastian Wang, who’s also a second-time participant.

“I would definitely join again if there were a Run Happy 2014,” added 21-year-old immigrations officer, Ang Wei Siang, with a smile.

It seems like Run Happy 2013 held true to its name this year, after all.