Over the years, The Color Run has become one of our family traditions. It started back in 2012, when I talked my friend Jen into trying it out with me.
Jen & I had such a blast that in 2013, I returned with the full family in tow. The kids were just 4 years old at the time, and the 3 miles felt really long to them. It took a lot of cajoling, encouraging, and occasional carrying to get them through the course. They had a blast, however, and a tradition was born.
We ran the race as a family once again in 2014 & 2015, and last Sunday we returned to the start line for the latest edition of colorful fun.
This year’s race had some improvements from last year, along with the inevitable challenges.
- The start at Citizen’s Bank Park was really easy to get to. Last year it took us over 45 minutes to crawl the last 2 miles to the parking lots. This year we cruised in without a problem, and we were able to leave after the race just as easily. We also greatly appreciated the free parking at the stadium.
- The lure of the ballpark. Much to our surprise, shortly after starting the race the course took a right turn into Citizen’s Bank Park. We ran around the concourse, enjoying the cool shade, before marching down the steps and stepping out onto the dirt warning track around the field. It was a great experience to be able to run around the ballpark, especially since live video was streaming on the Jumbotron of all of the participants.
- The increased number of color zones. The race traditionally had four color zones to run through. This year’s raced ended up with six. What a nice surprise, and a great way to keep the kids moving forward.
- The race start was poorly organized. As long as I’ve run it, The Color Run has sent runners off in 5-minute waves to spread out the runners on the course. In the past, we’ve approached the start and waited anywhere from 10-20 minutes before crossing the line. This year was awful. We stood in the blazing sun, barely moving, for 45 minutes. After so long in the middle of the crowd, my claustrophobia started to kick in, and I had to sit down with the kids to keep from getting anxious. By the time we finally crossed the line, we were feeling pretty aggravated.
- The weather. Race day dawned humid and blazing hot. The temperatures when we arrived at the start were in the low 80s and they continued to climb. There was also a strong wind. While we appreciated the occasional cooling effect of the gusts, it wreaked havoc with the actual color powder, along with all of the inflatable decorations. By the time we reached many of the zones, all of the markings were down on the ground. Much of the color that was thrown was immediately blown away, rather than landing on participants. In the end, we ended up much less colorful than in years past, and I have to believe that the uncooperative weather was to blame for this one.
We had fun, as we always do, but I’m not sure if we’ll be back. After running this race so many times, it’s starting to feel a bit redundant. In addition, the steep registration fee ($40/person) is definitely a deterrent. I’ve signed up for ultra races that were only slightly more than the cost of this one, and now that the kids are much better runners, there are a lot of other options out there that are much cheaper. Maybe it’s my transition to trails that are to blame. After so much time spent racing on such beautiful courses, it’s hard to get excited about running around a couple of parking lots. Anyone want to start a trail series of The Color Run? I’d be happy to help with the planning of that one.