My Adventures in Color Running

imageSAVE $5 OFF REGISTRATION BY USING CODE HOUSTON1— A few years ago a friend of mine told me about this 5k where you get color thrown at you. I was deeply into doing 5k’s at the time trying to improve my time (trust and believe, I’m no hardcore runner but I was trying). I was used to the traditional, pay your $25, here’s your t-shirt, here’s your number, there’s the start line, now GO! You try to run as fast as you can, or walk as fast as you can, they tap you in at the end, give you a time and hope it’s better than your last one. The most adventurous I had come to a 5K was a Halloween themed one so you wore a costume as you ran. The idea of being doused in a rainbow while running? YEEEESSSSS! Then a month later I found out that for the first time The Color Run was coming to Rochester, NY. I participated in it twice in New York and this year it’s coming to Houston in October.

So here are my adventures in Color Running!

imageKids are welcomed and encouraged on the race! Which I think is awesome. I’ve always done the race with my daughter. The first time she did it she was 9 years old. But I see much younger kids running it or sitting in strollers while their parents push them. This is not an ideal choice. If you’re covered in powder, so is that stroller. I wouldn’t even want to tackle cleaning a stroller after the race or putting that nasty thing in my car. Lol! One of my favorite pre-Color Run activities is doing a rainbow mani. So each nail has a different color.

imageThe day before the race you are allowed to come and pick up your packet with all your items in it. You can pick them up on the day of the race but it’s better to have everything done the day before. One of the items is tattoos, so it’s easier to put those on at home before you leave.

imageCostumes are also welcome for the race. I’ve seen people dressed as unicorns and Elvis. The most popular is the tutu. Color Run also sells tutus but I like making my own. The Color Run is the most expensive 5k I’ve ever done. It’s double the price of most 5ks. But it’s worth it. You get a large bag of swag for the race – you get a very cute, soft t-shirt and that’s what most people wear for the race. It is the cutest 5k shirt I’ve ever seen and its not the scratchy cotton shirt other races usually give out. You also get a cotton headband, a number, tattoos, a rubber wristband, and your color packet for the end of the race. I like wearing a long sleeve shirt because it’s less mess to scrub off my arms later on. I also buy the Color Run bandanas because they’re super cute. But also it’s nice to cover the hair line because powder at the scalp is not fun scrubbing out later.

imageAt my first Color Run race they gave you your powder packet when you picked up your shirt and number. The problem with that was you had to then carry it around and have it through the race.

imageIt also made people want to open it before the end. The concept was you have it, do the race, and then at the finish line throw it. The second year they just passed them out at the finish line…good idea. They’ve also added in medals to everyone that cross the finishing line. That’s cute, especially for all the kids. Unlike other 5k’s there is no timing, you don’t know your final time unless you’re using an app on your phone to track your distance and pace (which is what I do).

The race starts at 8am, people are lining up about 15 minutes before. If you don’t want to stand and wait then you want to be as close to the front as possible, because here’s how it’s different. On a normal 5K, the horn sounds and every goes. Not at the Color Run. They allow people to go in waves, like groups of 100 and then 3 minutes goes by and another wave is let go.

In Houston, they are now allowing a “runner wave” so if you’re into running the whole thing, you get to go first and then all the “walkers or run/walkers” go in at additional waves. The reason is so that not everyone is clustered together throughout the race and through the color stations. The first time I waited 45 minutes to finally “go” and I hated it. The next year I was in the second wave so didn’t have to wait at all. They have DJs gearing up the crowd waiting to start and they throw free Color Run swag into the crowd.

imageThe Color Run has “color stations” throughout the race – usually about 5 different color stations along the way.


imageYou enter that color zone to have about 5-10 people throwing color at you. You can opt to stay in the middle more and run through for less color, or basically, stop, spin around, stand there and welcome to be covered in it. I’ve seen some people walk along the outsides of the color station so they don’t get colored. I’m not sure why you would do that, but I’ve seen it be done. It seems a little like baby powder and it will make you cough a little. I used my bandana to cover my face sometimes. I’m told it’s organic plant powder so not dangerous to inhale.

imageimageI highly recommend doing the race with friends. If you have a team of 4 or more it also saves money off the registration price.

imageBe careful of your cell phone. Some people put it in a plastic bag to save it from the powder but then you can’t take pictures along the way. My phone has been covered in the powder each time and nothing bad happened to it.

The Color Run has some amazing photo stops. They have signs at the start of the race and along the race that you can’t help posing in front of. They do have professional photographers that take pictures before, after and during the race. You can search your race number (don’t lose your bib) afterwards and see if they caught you. They usually get everyone at least once. And then you can purchase those pictures.

imageimageThere’s almost a euphoric effect that comes with doing the Color Run. It’s just FUN. I’ve enjoyed it with my daughter every year, and I want to bring my younger daughter who’s 6 this year to do it. I highly suggest covering your car seats for the drive home. That powder goes everywhere! Also having baby wipes in the car is nice for hands and faces and they’re disposable.

Do you want someone who looks like this climbing in your car for a ride home?? I think not. Trash bags, towels are great seat coverings.

imageJust be prepared that when you come home, no one wants to let you in the house! Lol

imageIt is not the easiest to get off. There are definitely some scrubbing involved. I usually wash my hair a couple of times. And if it’s concentrated in the scalp, you might need another wash. And be prepared to sneeze a rainbow for about 12-18 hours later.

But is it worth it? Absolutely! The Color Run is the most expensive 5K I’ve ever done and worth every penny. Kids are welcome. Friend teams are fun. There’s no stress in running or being left behind because you’re a walker. Most people are walking. And if you’re like me, you run some and walk some. Have fun! Stop and take some funny pictures! And just laugh! It’s worth it just for the two hours of laughter.