When I told my brother-in-law I was participating in something called The Color Run, he thought I was running in a race for racial equality. The Color Run, he stressed to me. Racing for racial justice, right? he asked.
Not quite, bro. What The Color Run is is a 5k run that’s more about fun and colorful hijinks than medals and finishing time. Its self-proclamation as the “happiest 5K on the planet” is no doubt appropriate. In its first year, The Color Run leads all other 5K races with the most participants, about 600,000 finishers in 2012. It’s even made the cover of the recent Runner’s World.
The recent downtown Fort Lauderdale tour stop was this past Sunday, Cinco de Mayo of all days. And as someone who’s participated in a handful of races, yes, this one was easily the happiest one in which I’ve raced. (Man, they are good at their slogan creation!) There’s such happy camaraderie amongst complete strangers. Unlike other races I’ve participated in, there’s absolutely no pressure to perform, no expectations and no disappointment. Without all that silly pressure, it absolutely makes sense that an air of joy and happiness permeates.
Interested in running one? Here’s what to expect:
- It’s for people of all experience levels. Walkers are welcomed, strollers as well. Kids, adults, teens, seniors, and everyone in between were there on Sunday.
- Since all types of runners/walkers will be there, definitely don’t expect a typical, more serious race. For some, this will be their first-ever official run. So if you’re a serious runner, take this race with a grain of salt. For example, I had a hard time remembering that some folks may not know to keep to the right if they are a bit slower. My bad if I bowled you over!
- Since there are so many participants, the race blasts off in waves that are about 10 minutes a part. So you don’t have to strictly arrive on time as you can get in with subsequent waves.
- The colors are made of some sort of colorful dust. Not harmful at all, but definitely don’t mistake it for Pixy Stix. Yuck!
- It’s inevitable. You’re going to be color bombed. Deal with it.
- There were five main color stations. At our race, separate stations are strategically located to blast you with either orange, yellow, green, pink and eventually blue.
- Wear some sort of eyewear to protect your eyes from an unsuspecting color bomb. Cheap-o sunglasses are a good thing.
- To prevent the color dust from seeping up your nostrils or in your mouth, wear a bandana or cover.
- While the color is meant to wash off, understandably some stains can be pretty stubborn. So don’t wear anything you don’t want to get colored on.
- As if this wasn’t obvious enough: Bring a change of clothes and at least two towels to wipe off with and/or use to protect your car seats from staining.
- Normal race-day prep is suggested: Sunblock, lip balm with SPF, hydrate like a mofo, yada, yada.