On Saturday morning, I got up at o’dark-thirty to drive up to Allentown for a Color Run.
A Color Run has been on my bucket list for a while, and when a group of friends decided to get together and make a team, I figured I’d join them.
WHATTHEHECK is a Color Run, you ask?
They describe it as a ”unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness, individuality, and giving back to the community.”
Basically, it’s an excuse to get messy and feel like you’re doing something active while you’re at it. Oh yeah, and it usually benefits a good cause. But don’t be fooled, the organizers are raking it in on these events. Not that they shouldn’t be profiting. I’m all for making a profit for hard work and a creative idea. Just sayin’.
Aren’t we cute, all decked out in white, waiting to get colorful?
I guess I’m a bit of a Scrooge, but I didn’t think the color run was all it was cracked up to be. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be a Race. Nowhere do they ever claim to be a race. It’s not even timed. It is called the Color RUN. And yet.
I think I was one of only 10% of participants who actually ran.
They do a great job making it look like a race.
And truly, for an event this size, it is pretty well organized. You start off in packs, over the course of an hour. And they have volunteers placed throughout the course to keep spirits high and spread excitement.
But excitement over what, is the question. I spent most of my time on the course weaving in and out of the throngs of people walking three- and four-abreast. I actually stopped at one point during the run to take a picture. I mean, you know it’s not a serious run if I’m stopping for photos! LOL. But I thought this was a cool shot.
It was quite a hilly course, and it was a hot day, so even though I couldn’t run very fast, I still worked up quite a sweat by the end of it. I definitely would have enjoyed it more if they had waves of runners and walkers. But because they did have several different start times, it never felt insanely crowded, so at least there’s that.
I didn’t get nearly as colored up as I expected to. They only spray color at certain stations throughout the course, which I actually appreciated. I had envisioned dodging color guns the entire three miles. But you pretty much had to stand in front of the volunteers with the paint guns and ask to get squirted. Which again, is fine. If you don’t want to get doused, you probably won’t be.
They give you packets of color to hold onto and throw at the end, but I didn’t want to carry it while I ran so mine was in the car when everyone was tossing theirs. Again, I somehow managed to avoid the worst of it — not by trying! In fact, we all came through pretty much unscathed.
A color run is definitely something to do with friends. I actually think my kids would have really enjoyed it, and if I ever do another, I’ll bring them.
Here is our team in its entirety. We didn’t try to stay together during the race, but we met up at the end.
You can see that some people got VERY colorful! But you have to make a concerted effort. Or run with friends who aren’t as polite as mine. Ha!
After you’re done running, there is a big stage and a very exuberant volunteer calls you over and blasts the crowed with color while everyone jumps around and tosses their color packets. There’s raucous music, and they were even passing people across the crowd like at a rock concert. It was fun, I suppose, but I more or less felt like an old fogey.
I’m glad I can cross a Color Run off my bucket list, but I can’t say I’m raring to do another. I think it’s a great time for someone who just wants to do something active and fun. But for those who have been racing and get a thrill out of setting new goals and records, it’s kind of a let down. Or I’m a Scrooge . . .
Color Run Do’s & Don’ts
If you’re thinking of doing a color run, here are some of my best tips.
1. DON’T worry! The color is non-toxic. Just colored cornstarch, so don’t let that worry you.
2. DO bring a ziploc baggie for your phone. You will want to take pictures, but you don’t want to ruin your phone. Mine is just a few weeks old so I was extra super-dee-dooper careful to keep it covered at all times.
3. DO bring a change of clothes and/or a towel for your car. Again, my car is almost new and I was freaking out a bit about staining my seats or seatbelt with neon pink cornstarch. Fortunately my friend Karen had a towel to spare.
4. DO bring a bandana to cover your mouth and nose if you plan to get doused. I wore mine around my neck during the race, just in case, and afterwards I put it on my head kerchief style, which was actually a great way to keep my hair clean in the aftermath. (I got more color at the after party than during the race.)
5. DO wear sunglasses. Same deal — it helps keep the cornstarch out of orifices that don’t appreciate being invaded by foreign objects.
6. DO plan for enough time. If you’re going to pick up your race packets the day of the race, leave plenty early. There is likely to be a LONG line, and you will want time to go back and put your things in the car because they don’t have a place to check a bag.
7. DON’T wear anything too precious. The color may or may not come out of your clothes and shoes so wear old ones that you don’t mind getting mucked up a bit. As for your shirt, you can spray it with vinegar and iron in the color if you want to keep it as a souvenir.
8. DO wear white! Most everyone wears a white shirt, and you can go all out with white headbands, shorts, knee socks . . . whatever floats your boat. It’s fun to see them go from pristine white to rainbow in a matter of minutes. In fact, if you want, go all out and wear a crazy costume! Why not???
9. DON’T plan to PR. This isn’t a race; it’s a run. Or, um . . . a walk in the park for many. You can run, but you shouldn’t get discouraged if you can’t keep up your normal pace. Just enjoy the fun of it and plan to get a real workout the next day. On the flip side, don’t worry if you aren’t a runner. You definitely do not need to be. You can walk part of it or even the whole thing, and you’ll be in good company.
10. DO run with a group. This is a social event, for sure. So get a group together of your zaniest friends and be prepared to act like you’re a kid again.
Have you ever done a Color Run? Are you hoping to? What are your best tips???