I went into The Color Run thinking, this could either be really fun or really cheesy. And while it was a little cheesy, it ended up being a lot of fun.
The premise is this: wear a white t-shirt and get dusted with color at every kilometer along the route (it is believed to be cornstarch). Each station had a different color: first yellow, then green, purple, and finally pink. If you’re not colorful enough by then, just wait for the finish line color throw. As you cross the finish line, you are handed a bag of color and then every 15 minutes, there is a “color throw” where everyone throws their color into the air.
While the race was a lot of fun, there were some drawbacks. First, it was super-crowded. For the first half of the race, we were stuck walking some because it was too packed. At the color stations, people stopped to walk, creating a big bottleneck each time. There was no possible way to run this race for a certain time or PR. Second, it was clear that there were a lot of non-runners and people who had never done a race before. I say this because there are a few race etiquette rules that many people didn’t follow and seemed oblivious to, such as walkers stay in the back of the pack, and if you have to stop and tie your shoe, move to the side of the road and not right in the middle. There were many times when I almost tripped over people or narrowly escaped collision. Third, the color was a bit much. The massive clouds of color smoke got in my mouth and between my teeth, up my nostrils, and often made it hard to see.
The whole event seemed to be mass organized chaos. For example, my friend forgot to pick up her bib and t-shirt at the packet pick-up on Thursday or Friday, so she was told she could pick them up at the race Saturday morning. We showed up early, but there was still a lot of people waiting in line. While we were standing there, someone with the race was randomly passing out numbers, saying, “Here’s a number, you can just check in after the race.” Then a woman came by and said, “If you have your number, I can get you a shirt. What color and size do you want?” Then she just handed out shirts to anyone that wanted one. Nobody asked my friend for proof of registration or connected her bib number to her name. So in the end we were left wondering, “if it is that easy to show up and get a bib, why did we pay $35?”
The most fun was at the finish line when we did the color throw. There was not one person that wasn’t smiling after that. Then, if you wanted to dust off before leaving, there were people with leaf blowers blowing people off. I did that and then washed my clothes in hot water as soon as I got home, but the color still didn’t come out. It’s a good thing I wore clothes I didn’t care about.
It was definitely a good time and a fun race to do with friends. The jury is still out on whether or not I would do it again next year, but I’m definitely glad I did it once.
The Color Run is in over 20 cities across the country, so if you are in for a fun, colorful run with some friends, I would recommend it. Be sure you register in advance, however, because the Phoenix race sold out weeks before the event. Although, it was clear that anyone could have showed up and gotten a bib and the event organizers would never notice.