The Color Run Experience
Have you heard of the non-competitive, party-like 5k race called The Color Run? It’s touted as the “Happiest 5k on the Planet”, and I would have to agree. We heard about it through a friend, and it sounded like a fun, healthy way to spend some family time on a Saturday.
We didn’t know too much about it other than the idea that while we ran along the marked route, packets of colored chalk would be thrown at us, and we’d end up covered in rainbow colors by the end of the run. It sounded like fun, and the kids were thrilled when we told them about it.
We picked up our registration packet the night before, and I started to get a sense of how put together this whole production was. Each of us received a bag with an official Color Run t-shirt in it, which I expected, but there was so much more. We also received a headband, a temporary tattoo, a car decal, a bumper sticker and some literature on what to expect the next day. The staff was so organized and friendly, which added to my enthusiasm for the morning.
The day of the color run my kids had a hard time waking up. They had been at babysitting jobs the night before, and they were tired. Dino put on all his Color Run gear, and tweaked it into an ‘80’s-style “Richard Simmons” costume and started singing “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton John while making them breakfast. It was a hilarious sight, and that got my grumbly teens out of bed and in a better mood for a voluntary, early morning jog.
We showed up at the race site a little later than I’d wanted, but with ample time before the run was to start. I was startled not only at the massive crowd that was already there, but at the massive dance party that was taking place by the participants already in position behind the starting line. The starting line had a massive stage beside it, and a very hip DJ/MC who was cranking out dance tunes with heavy dance beats. The crowd was jumping up and down, dancing with each other, laughing and having a good time at 8:30 in the morning.
Not only were the runners having fun dancing, many were dressed up with silly accessories like wigs, tutus, boas, fairy wings, colorful knee high socks and other outrageous costumes.. This took the party scene to a whole new level of fun.
The best part for me was seeing how many families were there. There were little kids, babies in strollers, older couples – all age ranges were present. Most participants came with friends or family members, some were even multi-generational groups. Some people were fit, others were not. Some runners were experienced, for many this was their first 5k ever. Some run the whole thing; many will walk or jog it. I loved that it was an eclectic mix, and so there was no pressure to perform. It was more about being healthy, being happy, and making movement a fun experience.
Once the crowd is whipped into a frenzy, the run begins. The starting line begins in waves, allowing a smooth distribution of the tens of thousands of people that show up, and keeps the excitement high as many people get to experience being at the starting gate. There are 5 checkpoints where staff members administer color on the runners. Chalk clouds permeate the air as the runners emerge splattered in various patterns of color splotches all over their white clothing. After running through five color stations, my kids were a speckled mess of color, and they had the biggest grins on their faces. We grabbed some water bottles and snacks and listened to our kids’ happy chatter about the run. This had been a great experience, and I was happy they came with us.
But the party didn’t stop there. Once the first section of runners completed the course, people converged around the stage, similar to a concert, to dance and mingle with their fellow runners. The staff threw out packets of chalk from the stage, and the dousing of color continued. The DJ kept the crowd pumped up with dance contests, costume contests, and lively music. .People took photos, threw chalk, laughed, and danced for over an hour before the crowd slowly started to disperse. Staff members went around with leaf blowers and hosed off those that wanted to clean up a bit before getting in their cars. The diehard partiers stayed until the very end, and even helped clean up the empty packets of chalk that were strewn all over the grass. The whole experience had been bathed in happiness, and I can see why some lingered, hoping to get every last drop of it to take home with them.
As we walked to our car I remember thinking there’s no way we’ve had this much fun, in such a short amount of time, so early in the morning.
We went out to lunch afterwards, where we were constantly stared at because of our colorful appearance. My teens just smiled back, and kept up their giggly chatter, recalling the day’s events.
It took several showers to get the color out of every nook and cranny, especially our ears and scalp. It took even longer for our family to come off the high of such a fun family experience. The girls wore their Color Run t-shirts to bed every night for weeks. The bumper sticker hung on their bedroom mirror for a long time. The memory will stay in our hearts forever.
If you’d like to participate in a Color Run, and I wholeheartedly think you should, you can find more information HERE. If you’d like to watch a VIDEO or see more photos of our day at the Color Run, CLICK HERE.
Images via Shannon Watt