I started the race with a white T-shirt and finished it with a green, purple, orange and blue one.
I recently ran The Color Run, a unique event where runners get doused with dye. Race organizers call it “the happiest 5K on the planet.” After seeing the smiles, hearing the laughter and dancing along to the music with thousands of other runners, I agree with that description.
Started in 2012, the race’s popularity continues to grow. Last year, 170 races were held in more than 30 countries, according to The Color Run International
The rules are simple: wear a white T-shirt to the starting line. Wear a multicolored T-shirt at the finish line. Have fun along the way.
A Relaxed Race
The Color Run is about promoting a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness. But this is not a race which could help qualify you for the Olympics. Nobody keeps track of your time. Veteran runners, first-time 5K racers, joggers and walkers are all welcome to participate. At least half the people at my race walked the course.
The Color Run is more relaxed than other races. Runners at other races often feel pressured to compete and to turn in faster times. While some runners did finish The Color Run quickly, most took their time and enjoyed themselves along the way.
Plenty of runners got into the colorful spirit even before the race began. I saw runners wearing ballet tutus, green, purple and orange striped socks; and even fairy wings. Some runners wore neon hats.
During the race, runners have to navigate four color stations. They slow down and walk or jog slowly so volunteers can spray them with non-toxic, colored corn starch. In front of the purple color station, a young woman covered from head to toe with purple spray paint jumped up and down and gave runners high fives as they entered the station. Even her teeth were purple as she flashed a smile at all of us.
This is a friendly race, too. Everyone from the volunteer sprayers to the runners kept smiling through the whole event. Runners encouraged each other and shared plenty of laughs along the way. Spectators lined the course and clapped and shouted words of encouragement to us.
The fun continues after the race. A disc jockey is there to play music and pump up the crowd. All finishers are handed packets of colored powder. We waited for a signal from the disc jockey, ripped open the packets and waved the powder packets, sending clouds of yellow, blue, orange and purple paint into the air. Hands clapped and feet tapped to the pulsating rock music.
But this race isn’t just about fun and fitness. The Color Run partners with charities across the world and has raised more than $3 million since its beginning in 2012, according to The Color Run. . Our race benefited a local mental health association.
Tips For the Color Run
Tip one is to register early. Many races, including the one I ran in, sell out quickly. Keep in mind that we had 5,000 runners in our race, and some people were still turned away.
Tip two is to arrive early. Parking spaces fill up quickly, especially when there’s a big crowd. You will also need time to navigate the crowd, check in and line up at the starting line. Our race started at 9 a.m. on the dot but I didn’t start running until 9:35 a.m. because of the huge crowd lined up in the starting chute.
Wear safety glasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from the spray and dust. Some people wear bandannas or hats to protect their hair. Others don’t mind having their hair change colors. If you have any respiratory issues such as asthma, you may want to wear a respirator.
Don’t worry about getting doused with colors and looking like an Easter egg. The corn starch and powder used are 100 percent natural, biodegradable and wash off easily with soap and water. Even the colors on your T-shirt wash off easily – unless you’d prefer to keep a rainbow-colored shirt as a souvenir of The Color Run.
The Color Run
My own experiences running this event.