Photos by OHventures
Whoever came up with the "color run" concept was a creative genius: people participate in a 5K race dressed in white, getting splattered with bursts of colored powder along the way so that they end up looking like a rainbow threw up on them? Who thinks of this stuff? I suspect that color runs were invented as an alternative to the mud run: instead of getting drenched in brown mud throughout a course, why not get drenched in colorful "paint" instead? Pure. Genius.
However they came to be, color runs are a strong fixture in the novelty running scene. Various companies have sprouted up with their own take on the event: Color Run (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati), Color Vibe (Akron, Dayton, Toledo), Color Me Rad 5K Run (Columbus, Akron, Toledo), Color Blaze 5K (Lima), and others that are not located within Ohio (Graffiti Run, for example). Thousands and thousands of people take part in these color runs, so if it tickles your fancy, you should probably sign up as soon as possible before it sells out!
Video by Amanda Williams
I recently took part in the Akron Color Vibe 5K on April 27, 2013. The event took place at 9 AM at the Summit County Fairgrounds, technically located in the City of Tallmadge. As suspected, traffic was backed up for miles getting into the fairgrounds. Thankfully, it was a rain-free day (you wouldn't want all the color to wash off!) with the perfect temperature for a great run. My friend Ryan (a local musician and Featured OHventurer) came along for the ride. We came equipped with hats and bandanas, an extra pair of clothes to change into at the end, wet wipes, and towels to line the seats of the car. All of these things are good precautions to take, however, you will find that the color is not as damaging to your clothes or car as you would think!
At the registration booth, we were given Color Vibe t-shirts (which were white, so that all the colors would show up better), a pair of sunglasses (to shield your eyes from all the color), a racing bib (which is more of a keepsake than anything else, since the run is not timed), and most important of all - packets of color!! We were given one packet of yellow and one packet of blue. I personally was hoping for my favorite color (green), but it turned out we did not get much of a choice. We ran into some people we knew who were running and they had purple and pink packets! So, naturally, we all took turns throwing all of the color powders at one another! We used all the techniques we could think of to pelt each other with the powder. My personal favorite was "The LeBron James Chalk Toss."
Even though the race was set to begin at 9AM, there was no way that everyone was going to start at that time (thankfully). Instead, they had everyone line up and took waves of approximately 1,000 runners at a time. While waiting in the mass of color runners, more color packets were thrown into the crowd, and I was able to intercept my precious green color packet!! Everyone was "jonesin' for colors" and going buckwild throwing the powder (which was nothing more than dyed corn starch) every which direction! A super fun moment happened when Color Vibe workers came by with what looked like fire extinguishers that shot out - you guessed it - even more color!! Looking around, it was great to see everyone laughing and enjoying themselves!!
Soon, it was time for the race to begin for my group. The course was very interesting. I will say it was definitely not my favorite, as it turned out to be an "all terrain" experience - running on grass, dirt, pebbles, pavement, etc. The course weaved throughout the fairgrounds, at times with orange cones haphazardly designating the way to go. It was a bit hectic, but no one seemed to care too much, given that it was not a serious run! Some people were cutting corners or skipping parts of the track altogether. We stayed true to the route, however.
Color stations were scattered throughout the course where Color Vibe volunteers threw more of the powdery stuff on you by various means (squirt bottles, buckets, hands, etc.). Each station had its unique color - blue, pink, green, purple, and yellow. All ages and athletic abilities were amidst the runners and volunteers, and all of our once-blank canvases were turned into artsy masterpieces by the end!
All in all, the color run was one of the most enjoyable and lighthearted races I have done in a long time, and I highly recommend!