The Color Run: Where No One Stays Within the Lines

Hallie Witwer
The tag line for the traveling 5k race, The Color Run, is “The Happiest 5k On The Planet.” After having participated in the Cleveland race on June 16th, I couldn’t agree with that more. As a girl who had done little-to-no running before the two months preceding the race, I really didn’t know what to expect. Actually, as I completed the “Couch To 5k” training program I held little but dread for the upcoming 3.1 miles. Partly because 3.1 is a really long way for someone with my experience to run, and partly because the people I was running with were pretty much pros…many having marathons and half-marathons under their belts. I, on the other hand, was just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and training as much as I could in the short eight weeks I had before the race day. Those eight weeks were…well let’s just say they weren’t awesome.

Turns out all I had to do was experience all that The Color Run was going to give me to make it all completely and utterly worthwhile. The entire experience, from registration to the finish line, was unbelievably fun. There was music, pep-talkers along the route, and of course color! Lots and lots of color, actually. So okay, here’s how it works-

1. Before the race each runner is given a color packet to hold on to until the end of the race.

2. The runners are set off in 1,000 person waves to begin the 5k.

3. Each runner passes four “color checkpoints” where they get blasted with a specific color by dozens of amazing color run volunteers. First yellow, then green, then blue, then purple, and then…

4. The finish line where all the runners release their colors packets into the air making each runner’s world a temporary wonderland of reds, blues, greens, and every other color you can pretty much imagine.

As if the feeling of finishing my first race ever with the best friends a person could ask for wasn’t awesome enough, I was bombarded with colorful messiness that immediately brought me back to my childhood. Think full-body finger painting. Pretty much from that first color checkpoint to the end of the race I felt like a 5-year old and it was the best feeling I’ve had in a long time. I was literally covered from head to toe, every article of clothing, including my shoes, were no longer the stark white they were prior to the race, but completely tie-dyed. Every direction I turned greeted me with thousands of smiling faces as men, women, children, the wheel-chair bound, and even dogs reveled in the colorful universe that we all currently shared. It was a day I’ll never forget and if it’s coming to a city near you, I highly suggest getting the running shoes out of the closet and giving it a shot. All you have to lose is the time of your life!

Visit The Color Run for more information. Who knows, your city could be next!
Exulting in color greatness. (Witwer 2012)