This past weekend, I ran my first Color Run. (Not to be confused with any of the “color” races, which I’m sure are fun too.) This is the original paint race and I’ve been wanting to do one for so long! I signed up months ago – which was good since it sold out weeks before the race.
Carol and I picked up our packets on Thursday. Parking was tight. (We ended up paying at a meter.) But there was no wait in line and picking everything up was relatively seamless. I think the race shirts run a little big, but that was good for me because I’ve been in-between sizes for so long. (This one fits with room to spare.) We also decided to forgo any special costumes and wore our race shirt on race day.
They had their Color store on-site, and I knew they were going to have the store at the race start/finish. I was hoping to grab a t-shirt for my son, which I did for $10! The coolest part of the Color Run? They allowed kids and strollers at no extra charge. I’ve been wanting to run a race with my son, so I decided the week of the race that this could actually happen!
The race is not timed. There is a staggered start. And people are just HAPPY to be there. Walkers and runners alike. If you are looking for a serious PR/race, this is not the race for you.
We arrived at the check-in/start/party around 7:20 a.m. and the race start was between 8 and 9. There was no clear directions on where to go to line up, and there were two huge groups (lines?) that were trying to get into the starting chute. They were starting groups every 3-4 minutes. The starting chute had bubble machines going (which entertained my toddler) but it was SO incredibly crowded.
We met up with Julie (you should really read her race report. It’s great!) And I saw several other friends before the start.
It never really cleared up, either. Walkers/strollers were to stay to the right, with runners on the left. At one point, we were running faster than some of the runners (so I moved to the left .)
The first color station was early on – the blue station. This station did THE BEST job with the color. Other than one or two other stations, the other colors were somewhat lackluster.
I liked seeing the clouds of color surrounding a couple of the stations.
Basically volunteers are spraying a colored powder at you. (The purple station was a liquid.) If you stick towards the middle, you won’t get as much color on you. You can also get closer to volunteers to get directly hit with color. Everyone was super great and didn’t directly hit my toddler. And I basically raced through most of the color stations to get him through without causing him to freak out. (He did NOT like the blue on him. Shortly after, he rubbed his eyes, and we had to stop to clean him up as best we could. He then kept his hands off his face, and his sunglasses on the rest of the 5k.)
I’m not sure if the 5k was a true 5k. I didn’t use my app to track anything. I happened to look at my phone at the start and finish, and we did it in about 38 minutes. My recent 5ks have been around 30 minutes and this time we had stations to run through and a stroller to push.
There were multiple water stations. They were all poorly planned. There was a lot of bottlenecking because there was only water on one side of the street and nobody could tell where the water really was (on the right.) If you’re going to have 7000 runners/walkers out – many of them new to the “sport” – then you need to be better organized with the start/finish and the water stations. Those were my only real complaints.
This race refers to itself as the Happiest 5k. It really was. The volunteers, the race staff, everyone was pretty awesome. I have some tips for folks thinking of running (but that’s for another post. This one is long enough!)
Have you ever run a Color Run? Will you do one (ever, or again?) I could see myself doing this again, especially knowing the start and how crazy things can get.