Monday, January 28, 2013

A new twist to road racing will bring color to your face (and your shirt)

Submitted by Christine Blanchette (, @christineruns)

Running a race is about as basic as competition can get – it’s you versus the ones beside you and may the best woman (or man, of course) win.  But then you add different food, draw prizes and live entertainment, you’re left with unique events for people to choose from – with each one offering a different ambience, yet each is still a race from start to finish.

Now picture an event with all competitors dressed in white t-shirts while waiting for the starting gun. The runners/walkers then take off and through each kilometer they’re showered with color powder made with food grade cornstarch, 100% natural and safe.  It’s new, sounds like loads of fun, is coming to Montreal on August 17 and is called, “The Color Run 5km.” 

For those runners who merely estimate their kilometer split times, this is the race for you as you will be doused five times with different colors, giving you a 70’s tie-dye look at the finish line.

Some runners will wear bandanas or dust masks because of the powder, thrown by volunteer color throwers, sponsors and Run for Color staff who aim low as much as possible when you pass by. The idea is to get your t-shirt as colorful as possible by race end. To re-state the obvious, you start in white and you finish looking like a hippie gearing up for a Joan Baez tribute concert.

You are officially a color runner/walker and you get to celebrate at a post 5km party. At the finish, the crowd will do a color throw every 15 minutes to welcome new runners coming in. 

The first official Color Run was held in Tempe, AZ in January 2012. Since last year, the event debuted in 50 US cities and three international cities, with close to 600,000 participants in total. By the end of 2012, The Color Run has worked, as 60 per cent of participants were first-time 5k runners. The event selects a different local charity organization for each city, so everybody wins.

In a recent email interview with the Color Run mastermind, 34-year-old Travis Snyder from his office in Draper, Utah, the founder and executive director began by saying, "Seeing how happy The Color Run has made all different kinds of people has been very rewarding. It really is an event for all fitness levels, ages and backgrounds. Our tag line is "The happiest 5k on the planet" for a reason. That line was created after seeing how happy it made people." You might say it puts the fun into a fun run.

Snyder, a former triathlete and avid runner, began creating his own running events 10 years ago. In an effort to create a non threatening running environment where professional and novice runners could come together and enjoy the purity of the sport, The Color Run was born. "I wanted to create an event that would encourage people to get out and run just for the fun of it. I wanted people to enjoy the community experience of running together, and I wanted to add something a little out of the ordinary to the race; something that could serve as a sort of visual reward for all the hard work these runners put into training for the event," he said.

He continued, “The Color Run has had more first time 5k runners than any other event in history. For most of these runners it will lead to more participation in fun runs and competitive events. We take a lot of satisfaction in the fact that our events lead people to have a more healthy and active lifestyle. The demand has been crazy and exciting. Every day hundreds of people make requests on our Facebook page for us to bring the event to their favorite city. We're excited to answer the call!”

You can run the event solo or enter as a team. This makes me want to participate in this event. All you need is a white shirt, and be ready to have some fun running and getting splashed with color.

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1 comment:

  1. I did the New England Colour Run and had the time of my life! As a non runner, it was concern for time, just whether or not I got enough colour plastered all over my shirt.....with blue powder coming out of my hair for a few days, I think it was a huge success! Shared photos on my blog ( were smiles everywhere!