Color Run Tips {and My Color Run Experience}

color run08

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?

color run before

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.

color run start line

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.

color run

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.

color run

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.

color run10

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.

color-run-tips

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.

color run 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???

color-run-costumes

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???

Comments

  1. says

    My first 5K was a Color Run and I LOVED it. I think people who have been running a while and really enjoy the thrill of a good race have a hard time letting go and just enjoying it (just an opinion based on your post and a conversation my husband had with a man on the day of my run – the man was complaining that people just weren’t taking it seriously enough…it’s NOT a serious race. It’s just FUN!). Since it was my first 5K I did walk some. Most people were good about walking on the right so runners could pass on the left. Wonder if your location didn’t get enough volunteers to spray the color. At ours you had to work hard to avoid the color, which we didn’t because the whole point it to get colored! Here’s a link to my Color Run post:
    http://starrgazingblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/color-run/ I would do it again! At least you could mark it off your list and move on to other things. Maybe someday I’ll be able to more “serious” races but sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever like running. :)

    • says

      Oh that’s rude – I can’t believe he was complaining! I knew going in it was NOT a serious race. I knew it wasn’t timed and I was prepared not to get a major workout. But I was surprised how many people were walking. I almost felt silly running between them. But I hadn’t had a run in days and I was in the mood to move! So we did. But I would not have complained to anyone else there. That’s obnoxious. And I definitely don’t think everyone needs to be a serious runner. Not at all. But I don’t think these races are meant for serious runners, so I’ll probably focus more on timed races. I’m still glad I did it tho. And I’ll totally do one again if I ever have a friend who wants to, or if my kids want to do it.

  2. Lee Ann says

    My daughter did the Color Run this summer in Columbus, OH. She’s not a runner, but her and a friend did it for the fun of it! They looked like rainbows when it was over, and the rain helped the color streak.

  3. Grace says

    I know I’m a party pooper but I never did *get* a color run and even with your great post, I *still* don’t get it! :-)

    • says

      Well, there are a lot of things I don’t do! I don’t craft, I don’t volunteer, I don’t watch a lot of movies or TV, I don’t decorate my house for the season or throw creative birthday parties for my kids or garden…. so this is my outlet.

      But I will say that if my husband wasn’t so supportive, I wouldn’t be able to get away on the weekends for races and things. So I am incredibly appreciative that he picks up the slack at home when I want to go do something like this. :-)

  4. says

    My sister and my niece did the same color run (I started to type “race” and changed it, lol) that you did. It looked like they had a great time on their facebook posts. I don’t think their really serious runners ;)

  5. says

    I did The Color Run in the spring. It was a lot of fun but I too was a little annoyed that people we walking, joking around, etc. I knew it wasn’t timed, but I still wanted to actually run.

    When I picked up my number, I bought one of those color run arm bands for your phone. It did a great job of protecting my phone from the the color. Also, we put the color from our color packets on us at the beginning of the race so we started the run with lots of purple. And by the end, we were actually running toward all the people throwing the color. We wanted to look like we had been to the Color Run! And I think we succeeded!

  6. Daniela says

    I am not a runner and never heard of a color run. I don’t understand why you would call it a run if you are not running Unless it means the color will “run” on you. :)

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing this event! Neither my sister nor I have done a color run yet. After reading your review ( which was good by the way) I don’t know if I would be that “into” this kind of race. Maybe just for fun if I didn’t have to travel far for it! My sister and I earned a free entry into the COLOR ME RAD race ( for review purposes), So I am assuming it will be pretty similar. Thanks again for your honest review!

    • says

      I think Color Me Rad is similar. I just looked it up and it isn’t timed either. I don’t know if it draws the same crowd or if it draws more runners or not. I did fill out the survey they sent yesterday from the Color Run and told them my feedback about having waves of runners and walkers. I do think that would have helped a lot.

  8. says

    Thanks so must for this honest post about the color run. My daughter (11 years old) wants to do this run and I have wondered if she would even enjoy it. I worry about getting this stuff in my contacts and not being able to see for the rest of the run!

    Congrats on your half marathon! That is awesome!

    • says

      I think you would enjoy doing it with her. I would definitely do another if my daughter wanted to. And I wear contacts – the key is to wear SUNGLASSES! :-) They protected my eyes just fine.

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