It feels a bit silly to call this a “race report” since there are no recorded times at The Color Run, but since we paid for it and had official bib numbers, we are just going to be flexible here. I should start by telling you that The Color Run may be one of my all-time favorite running events, which is impressive since I’m not usually a fan of shorter races. This is no ordinary short race, however. In case you’ve somehow missed the memo, The Color Run is a 5K that takes you through various “color zones” where you are doused with colored powders. If you do it right, you finish the race looking like a colorful camouflage warrior.
I first ran the race in 2012, and quickly decided that it would be more fun to make this a family affair. In 2013, I dragged the husband and kids along and they quickly fell in love with the event as much as I have. This year was our third one running together. The race moved from July to April, which resulted in unusually cool temperatures on race morning. We actually had to rethink our outfits, as our standard white t-shirt and shorts combo was clearly not going to be warm enough for the 40-degree temps that we had at the start. We ended up layering everyone with long-sleeved tees and long pants, and once we got off running, we found that to be just right.
The Color Run has a great starting line. They send runners off in small waves every five minutes over the course of an hour, and while you are waiting at the start, you can enjoy the cheerful music and the amusing announcer. We found ours to be particularly entertaining this year. Once out on the course, we had just enough time to warm up before encountering our first color zone. Over the years, we have found that it works best to pair one adult with one child, and to just plan to meet up after each color zone. With three kids and three adults this year, the strategy worked perfectly, allowing us to check in and take a quick photo after each color. In addition to the four color zones, there was some upbeat music, a motivating drumline, a wave of bubbles, and a “shine” zone, where you were hit with sparkly silver powder. After crossing the finish line, each participant received a medal, a color packet, and a shine packet. A few steps away and we were able to help ourselves to a bottled water and a KIND bar. After collecting our treats, we made our way to the finish line festival, which is where the real fun begins.
At the finish, another announcer keeps the crowd going with a great musical backtrack. In between the music, there are frequent “color throws” where everyone in the crowd is encouraged to throw up a handful of color at the same time. It’s at the finish line party where you end up getting drenched in color, and our family always seems to have an unofficial contest to see who can spread the most color to their fellow participants.
I can’t accurately describe how much fun this event is. Of course, if you hate to get dirty, this would be a race that you will want to avoid. And if you are the super-competitive sort, then you should also skip it as well, since there tend to be more people walking than running. For all those looking to have a good time, however, it’s one event that you can’t miss. They even make it easier to get the whole family involved, as kids under 5 can run for free. With all of the great entertainment on course, and the fun after party, The Color Run truly lives up to its claim to be the “Happiest 5K on the Planet!”