Philadelphia Color Run Race Report

by kbarry on July 11, 2012

Yellow Color Zone

After my third scrubbing session in the shower to get all of the color off of me I thought it would be a good time to take a break to write up a little review of the Color Run I took part in on Sunday in Philadelphia.  I wouldn’t necessarily call the Color Run a “run” per se but more of an active event along the lines of a tough mudder type of race. With that being said it definitely was a fun morning and a very interesting type of race that has already started to spawn similar races.  I foresee more types of these running/active events to be even more prevalent in the future.

Colored up RunnersRunners all colored up after the race

The Colors, oh the Colors
So just what is this stuff being thrown at you, inhaled and getting into every crevasse of your body?  The race site describes it as “food grade cornstarch and are 100% natural and SAFE”.  That may be the case but I can assure you that it sucks to breathe this stuff in (especially through your nose) and tastes like crap.  I didn’t have many issues with it getting in my eyes but I’m sure that wouldn’t be too much fun either.  They claim that it easily washes off of you but I beg to differ.  After three showers my scalp still is purple, few of my toes orange and some blue still lingers on my arm.  I haven’t tried to wash my race clothing yet, I’ll post an update on how that goes but I’m thinking my running shoes are now a lovely shade of purple from now on.

Race startRunners all dressed in white ready to start the race

The Start
Waves of runners started about every 3-4 minutes apart – nobody was assigned to corrals, you just lined up in the large queue and they sent off packs of a few hundred at a time.  It was a bit confusing where exactly you were supposed to go and the corral queue was huge, we just jumped in about half way.  There was a lot of energy in the corrals which made it fun, the DJs were doing a good job of keeping the energy levels up in the crowd even though it was 7am.  We only had to wait about 15 minutes and then we were off in search of color!

Coming up on redRed color cloud in the distance, we must be approaching the Red color zone

Course
The course started out heading down Kelly Drive towards boathouse row, just before boathouse row the course made a right up the hill towards Girard Ave.  That’s where you came across the first color zone, red if I remember correctly.  There were 4 color zones setup along the course, about 1 every kilometer – not enough if you ask me.  It was a really cool sight coming up on the color zones, plumes of color filled the air – it was as if you were running into a strange color cloud when entering the zones.  Volunteers armed with water bottles filled with the colored powder sprayed runners as they passed through the zones.  One downside of these color zones were they became choke points for the race, a few times bringing runners to a complete stop.  After hitting Girard Ave runners crossed over the bridge then back down to MLK drive.  Three more color zones ended up the race as runners filed down MLK drive before ending right in front of the Art Museum looking all rainbowy.  After the race they have a huge dance party with a DJ and in 15 minute intervals you’re encouraged to throw your color packet around to color each other up even more.

Blue Color ZoneBlue Color Zone

Some Tips for Future Color Runners

  • Wear your old running shoes & clothes!  Like a dumbass I wore my main running shoes, which are not a lovely shade of purple/pink.  They also continually turn my socks colors after wearing them now.  My shorts and shirt are also not a lovely shade of purple which after two washes has not come out.
  • You don’t need to pick up your packet early.  We arrived around 7am and there was absolutely no line to pickup your gear.
  • Bring a towel for the ride home so don’t end up coloring the inside of your car like I did and still is.

End of the Color RunPost race dance party with even more color action

Overall Impressions & Thoughts
Would I do the color run again?  The jury is still out on that one, I could definitely see myself doing it again but right now I would probably lean towards no.  These types of races are great for non-runners or first time runners who are looking to do a different type of run race.  I ran/walked with a group of friends that have despite my nagging have never done a 5k race up until this race.  For people who many not necessarily be runners this is a great alternative – no pressure due to the lack of timing, a fun concept with the colors and maybe the first step to getting into more traditional 5k races.  The Color Run encourages people to sign up as teams which makes running with a group of friends a blast.  If you’re looking for a serious 5k the Color Run won’t be your cup of tea but if you just want a fun activity to do – definitely check it out.

Thanks to Ben for the great pics!

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