A Cascade of Color – The Color Run, Columbus Ohio

They bill this race as this the “Happiest 5k on the planet.” I could use some happy right about now, so I wanted to check it out. This is a theme race, one of many now out there like the Run For Your Lives Zombie Race, Dirty Girl Run obstacle race, etc. I do not care to be chased by Zombies, and I do not like trail running, risking injury or getting muddy, so those races were not for me. However, this race involved being covered with different colors at each “k” point and then throwing colors in the air at the end. Plus, the fact that you were not being timed (a negative for some folks I know), and that this was a non competitive race really appealed to me. I know some serious runners mock these types of races, but if they introduce people to running and getting healthy, all while having fun, I’m all for it.

“Color Runs” sell out quickly and Columbus was no exception. They had 12,000 people register. Runners have to wear a white t shirt and start in waves of a thousand- yes, a thousand! I am not a fan of crowds, but I have run with 10,000 other folks at the Corporate Challenge, so why should this be any different? And, unlike the destination 5k I did last year (Running with the Balloons in NJ), I actually convinced someone to run with me. It is so much better being at these things with a friend.  Kristine and I got to Columbus the night before and did the World Famous Pig Run 5k. We also did the Run for the Red Twilight 5k on Thursday night, so this was our 3rd 5k in 3 days! I was tired, but still ready to run/jog/muddle thru- whatever the case might be. 
We got to the starting line around 8 a.m. and waited for our wave to start. The crowd was definitely pumped. They had people way above the starting line throwing gifts to the crowd (sunglasses, frisbees, powdered color to throw, etc). There was music, the wave and people doing an O-H-I-O chant – which Kristine and I were clueless about until someone filled us in. Hey – we’re from NY, what can we say!

I had read beforehand to cover your eyes and mouth during the run, so I was ready! I also knew that if you wanted more color, you needed to stay to the left or right when you got to a “color zone”. Supposedly, the dust is safe, all natural cornstarch. So, camera covered, bandana in hand and sunglasses too, we were good to go. At 9 am, the first wave started. It was very cool to see a sea of white tshirts running down the middle of a city block. We ran along like you normally would, until, in the distance, you could see a puff of color. On both sides of the street, volunteers were throwing and using ketchup squeeze bottles to cover us with color. People ran, people jogged, people walked – even rolled around in – the color. It was crazy. 

From there, you kept running until you got to the next “k” point where it happened all over again, except in a different color. And so it went, until you were a big, messy rainbow of color at the end.
As for me, I was tired from the previous 2 runs the 2 days prior, but knowing a color was coming up was added incentive to keep going. All ages were represented, from little kids, to college kids and grandmas and everyone in between. There were tutus and other creative, colorful costumes as well.

My goal was to get as much color on my shirt as possible. I was doing fine until the yellow zone. Wow, they went crazy. I could not see or breath going thru that cloud of color. But, I made it out and kept going. The whole thing was kind of surreal, made even more so by the fact that I had no – zero – zilch – nada- sleep the night before. I blame that on my chronic EVIL insomnia rearing its ugly head again, and not bringing my own pillow from home to the hotel. So, I was very sleep deprived.  But I digress…

At the end of the race, everyone gathered by a stage where there was a “finish line festival” with dance contests among participants (you could win sneakers) and, at 15 minute intervals, everyone was supposed to toss their color packet in the air. Some people could not wait and had already thrown it on each other or their clothes.

When they finally did the countdown, it was the coolest thing ever. Depending on where you were, you could see all the colors being thrown in the air – or – you were in the midst of the color all around you – in a haze. It was crazy – people dancing, smiling and just enjoying the moment. From there, you could go to the leaf blower area and get cleaned up a little and either head to the jazz and rib fest or head home. It was funny seeing the kaleidoscope of color walking down the city streets. I still have color on me, although most does come off in the shower.

Overall, I would say that this was an experience everyone should try – either running or watching. Sure, it’s not a competitive race. But, you are getting exercise and it beats the daily grind of running as a chore. I’ve done almost 60 races in the past 6 years and this is one of the stand-outs.

So, do you wanna turn into a rainbow of color? If so, look HERE to see if there is a Color Run in your neck of the woods. If you’re near Rochester, NY, there is a knockoff race called  The Color Blast in September that is similar, but on a much smaller scale.

P.S. If you want to see some really beautiful photos and videos of these races, just google The Color Run. Or, you can see video and pics/an article about the Columbus race HEREHERE and HERE.  I also like this Article & this ONE about the race. And then there is this cool short VIDEO. The official Color Run FB page is HERE. There are some gorgeous, fun, funny and creative pics of this event out there- much better than what my point and shoot took (which I was very nervous about ruining, which is also why I did not wear my beloved GPS watch).

Be colorful and carry on!

Pros: Unique race. Loved that it was non-competitive and you could just go out there and have fun.
Cons: Price is a tad high – $54, Plus, since I traveled there, I also paid for a hotel- granted our hotel was cheap  – the oh-so-glamorous Red Roof Inn downtown. It was actually a pretty nice hotel and very convenient, since the race was just a few blocks away. Other color runners stayed there too.

Advice: Make sure you do packet pickup the day before (at a local running store). Otherwise, you will wait in line a long time. Make sure to bring a bandana to cover your mouth going thru the color zones. You will also need sunglasses to cover your eyes. You can buy a cheap pair at packet pickup. Your registration fee gets you a tshirt, a packet of color to throw at the end, a tattoo, your bib and a headband.

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One Response to A Cascade of Color – The Color Run, Columbus Ohio

  1. domsrunning says:

    that looks like SO much fun. I might just move to the States for the sheer amount of choice in running events 🙂

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