All the Pretty Colors
For those of you who have no clue what a color run is, well, let “paint” you a picture. Get it? Paint? Color? ha… haha… Moving on.
A color run, in this case a 5k, is an event were colored corn starched(CCS) is thrown at you. This is usually accomplished by a Fire Extinguisher looking device or by a larger stationary machine. Both of which will spray the colored cooking ingredient toward your general locations, thus accomplishing the goal of making you resemble a finger painting gone horribly wrong. Most events will also have small baggies filled with the same CCS that the machines use so that individuals can paint whomever they wish.
The event I went to today was called a Color Fest, but most are simple called Color Runs, but don’t let the name full you, color is not involved. Wait no, I mean running, running is not involved. Actually, that’s not true either, it’s simply optional. Some people run, some jog, The Lady speed walks ( which I should point out is faster than some people jog). Point is, most events are allow you to go at your own pace.
A finally, like any 5k, they usually befit a charity, usually.
A 5k Color Fest!
The Lady and I had wanted to do a color run for a while and the 5kColorFest happened to fit into our schedule nicely. So the lady signed herself up and then for a Valentines Day gift, me as well. When run day came-ith, we drove down to Dripping Springs Ranch to get our color on. The events proceeds went to “benefit scientific research on cancer and Alzheimer’s disease”. To be honest I’m not sure what that actually means. Is the money donated to a research group? A hospital? A grant? I have no clue, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
In any case, we arrived a little over an hour before the race started. It was interesting how few people there where as I expected the event to be bigger. Also interesting was how small the set-up area was. Mind you that having a smaller event isn’t a bad thing, just not what I expected.
A funny thing about happened when signing-in, they didn’t ask us for any proof that we paid, not even an ID. We could have easily just walked up, gotten a packet, and did the race for free. That should be addressed… After “signing-in” we were given a race packet and a Color Fest T-Shirt.
Our packet included a race bib, temporary tattoo, finisher medal(why do I get this before the run even begins?) and a lollipop. Their website says a color pack is also included, but we didn’t get one.
Our packet in hand, The Lady and I retreated back to the car to put our new Shirt on. Afterwords we wondered around taking photos of the now blooming Blue Bonnets.
About half an hour before the run was to begin, an announcer started to go over the race details. First up was safety. After an overly lengthily safety speech that included things like, no knives/guns/tackling/hitting… Wait what?
The Lady and I have done multiple events, granted none of them have been color runs, but events that involved a group of people going from point A to point B. They Lady herself used to be a runner so if you take out the color part, she’s done tons of these types of events and this ones safety briefing was by far the strangest. After a few minutes, the people nearest me started to ignore her and began chatting amongst themselves or worse, they would make fun of what she was saying. I get that safety is a big deal and that precautions should be taken, but this little speech went a little to far.
Following said speech came the “Awesome” awards. Which from what I could tell was people randomly picked in some manner. A guy standing next to me won an award and muttered “this is awkward” as he walked up. The award was a metal 5k dog-tag. The funny implication of this is that the award implied that not all of us were awesome. I realize that is not what they were trying to say, but that’s basically what it means.
Finally, to round out the pre-game show was a group warm-up that was run by the events single sponsor. Taking The Lady’s word, none of the exercises were valid warm-ups for a run. But to be fair, it was mostly something to do for fun, so I wont criticize them for doing it. I should note that the lady who ran the exercises was different from the safety lady and had much more enthusiasm to her.
With all that said and done, it was time to start the color run! So The Lady and I headed over to the starting area and per the safety lady, walked very slowly… Safety lady, you’re being silly now.
3…2….1…Fake out! Ha ha! I suppose. Ok for real this time.
That’s a lie, we fast walked. Most of the people around us took off running/jogging, but They Lady’s and I knees prevent such frivolities. As we crossed the start line, 1 person on each side sprayed us with color from a fire extinguisher looking device.
The route went along a trail. An interesting choice of venue to be sure, but a nice one.
A short while later we came upon the first color station. Where people were waiting in a line. To have a guy throw CCS on them. Hmm, the experience is going down hill. Taking our turn, The Lady and I received our Pink CCS and continued on our way.
Immediately after the color station was a “dangerous”, safety!, water crossing in which people filtered into a single line.
Following the water crossing of horrific danger was the next color station. This time a guy was sprinkling a dab of purple on our shoulder from a small plastic cup. Despite the fact that I stopped, I’m not to sure I got any on me.
By now, The Lady and I’s enthusiasm for the event was pretty much killed. We joked with a family that had settled into place in front of us about how the event was going. A couple of them had done other colors runs and informed us that this was by far the worst one they had ever done. As we walked on it became a running joke that just masked our disappointment with it all.
After the purple guy, the guy at the next color station threw a blob of blue that mostly hit my pants. The next stations guy did his best with his blue and green. A trudge through the mud later and we were at the next station where… it doesn’t really matter actually.
The 5k route was actually a 2.5k loop around the parks spring fed pool, but after one lap The Lady and I called it quits. There simply wasn’t enough of a reason to stick around.
Before leaving we took our required selfies.
I joked about half-way through the first lap that I couldn’t wait to try a color run and I still can’t. I wish I could say that these guys put on a great event were much merriment was had, but that would be a lie. Most of the events joy, if you can’t tell from this post, was from making fun of the event with the other people in attendance.
All that said, I learned from talking with others at the run that this kind of experience is not typical of a color run. A ton of other groups run various color runs throughout the US and the world. The Lady and I choose this one because it happened to fit into our schedule, but a quick Google search shows Austin having no less than 8 more color runs this year alone. Never-mind the other major Texas cities. What I want is to not dissuade you from going to a color run, just don’t go to *this* one.
Go here for the rest of the photos.
Welp, thanks for reading! Below is the GPS data of the event and a small FAQ on color runs.
I did forget to start recording at the beginning. 🙂
Color Run FAQ
What’s it made of?
Usually Corn Starch that is dyed a given color.
Is it toxic?
No, but I would at least wear some type of eye protection, such as sun glasses, to keep it out of your eyes. A bandanna for your mouth wouldn’t be a bad idea. Thought I was OK without one.
What do I wear?
Anything white! The point is to get that color on you, so you want that color to show. That said, the color does wash out so you don’t have to worry about it ruining your favorite 4$ white T-shirt 😛
But… my car
Yea, I’d bring a towel to sit on or a change of clothes. I dusted myself off and used a towel, The Lady brought a clean shirt. Both worked just fine.
So I for events were I will be doing anything active, I bring along my Tough TG-4. It’s water/drop/freeze/shock proof so that I don’t have to fear breaking it. I don’t think I’d risk taking my phone with me, but some of the newer phones are water proof… I wouldn’t risk it, but if you want to have it with you for the non-colored moments, perhaps you could place it in a plastic bag.