Week 26: Color Run

Halfway through my challenge to try a new fitness class, craze or fad every week for a year… wowzers! It is flying and still so many things to try!

What better way to mark halfway than with Color Run, the latest uplifting fitness import from the US…

What They Say:

Color Run is the original, largest and most unique 5k colour fun run in the world which celebrates healthiness, happiness, friendship and having the time of your life!

Thousands of Color Runners start the day in a special edition white t-shirt, getting covered from head to toe in a rainbow of colours at five stations around the course. Oh and did we mention you don’t even have to run? You can choose to run, walk, skip or dance your way around the course. It’s all about the fun and what gives you the biggest smiles!

If you are looking for happy memories, big smiles and the most colourful day you’ll ever have – this is the event for you.

My Experience:

I booked in for the Color Run a few months ago with my sister (who loves rainbows, unicorns and positive spirit just as much as me!) and had been looking forward to it ever since. Earlier in the week, however, as rain hammered and winds swirled, I had a little trepidation that it would be somewhat of a damp squib. Fortunately, the weather took a turn; it was a glorious summer day and I skipped off to Wembley full of anticipation.

A few weeks before the event, I received a package from the organisers including my race number, a bright white t-shirt emblazoned with a sunset, a headband, wristband and glittery “HAPPY” temporary tattoo. I got kitted up and off I trotted in the Sunday sun.

As we approached Wembley we saw a wave of runners passing the start line in their gleaming white tees – all smiles as streamers rained down over their heads. We followed a snaking path of runners on and on… wow there were a lot of people here! Eventually we were directed to a funnel leading to the start line, and joined thousands of others in line. We moved slowly but, amazingly, there was not a hint of grumbling, pushing or shoving. Everyone simply basked in the sunshine, chatting, laughing and occasionally taking a step forward as the queue moved. Loads of people had made a real effort, with glitter on their faces, having customised their t-shirts, and wearing crazy headgear and tutus. There were people of all ages, shapes and sizes too – kids, grannies, groups of lads, people in wheelchairs, fat people, thin people and everything in between. The one common trait was that everyone was smiling… and we hadn’t even got to the start yet!

As we approached the start line, music blared and a super enthusiastic Irishman geed up the crowds, throwing gifts into the air and setting off Mexican waves. Unlike any 5k I’ve done before, this wasn’t timed, and there was no jostling to elbow through the crowds. Some people walked, some jogged, few ran.

We wound around the stadium and, as we turned the first corner, saw other runners nearing the finish, covered in colour! That would be us soon! Just a few minutes later we came to the first “color station” where people threw bright pigment over the runners as they passed through – the floor was covered and there was a haze of coloured dust in the air. There were four colour stations around the route – each a different hue. In between, people strolled, chatted, and sang songs (a spontaneous group rendition of “if you’re happy and you know it” almost bringing a tear to my eye!).

About half way round we spotted what we thought were bubbles up ahead… as we got closer we realised it was in fact foam… so much foam! People threw it in the air, it was in our hair and faces, and we waded through it knee deep! My once turquoise trainers were now a cacophony of colour, streaming together in swirls of foam.

5k later, we were absolutely covered in coloured powder – arms, legs, faces and hair. The late afternoon sun cast long shadows and the world seemed vibrant. Crossing the finish line, we were handed packets of coloured powder and joined a throng of colourful people in front of a huge stage with DJs and dancers. Every few minutes, they counted down for everyone to throw their pigment in the air, and it was truly spectacular – like a Bollywood movie, clouds of colour exploding above our heads.

As we headed off home, slowly the trickle of shiny, happy people dispersed, and it was easy to forget we must look quite extraordinary to a general bystander. As I stood waiting for a bus at Richmond station a while later, I noticed lots of strange looks, and then a lady with Down’s syndrome piped up loudly “what have you been doing? How did you get covered in paint?!”. Quickly the rest of the queue were asking questions and I enthused them to sign up next time the run’s in town!

In all honesty, I was a little sad to wash the colour away, and my shower resembled a murder scene as red pigment swirled down the drain and splattered the walls. It feels a bit boring being skin coloured again… I’m already looking forward to doing this again next year!

In Summary:

Forget Sunday blues, this was Sunday greens, pinks, purples and reds!

Fitness wise, this was a stroll – absolutely inclusive, anyone could do it. Color Run isn’t really about fitness though, it is a coming together of people getting outside, laughing, smiling and having a jolly good time. The positive spirit was utterly infectious. I’m not sure it would have been quite the same on a grey, grizzly day, but this goes down as one of my all time favourite Sundays!

Where: Wembley Stadium. Upcoming UK runs in Manchester (1st July) and Brighton (23rd September).

Cost: £28 (£10 for under 5s)

How to book: http://www.thecolorrun.co.uk

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