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The Color Run Philadelphia 2012 Recap

July 31, 2012

I saw the video on Facebook for The Color Run and signed up five minutes later.  It’s really a testament to the power of social media (or humans’ craving to simply have a good time.)  It was probably the quickest race decision I’ve ever made in my life.  I don’t even think I checked the calendar before registering for the race.  Thankfully it didn’t conflict with anything!  And surprisingly, when I asked my non-running husband if he’d like to register he didn’t skip a beat and said, “Sure. Sign me up.”  (Whoa.)

We were in the middle of one of the region’s longest heatwaves, so we rode our bikes to packet-pickup early to beat the 95+ degree heat.  I gawked when I saw the volunteers checking us in with ipads.  (Who needs paper and highlighters?  Though I will admit, it took them about a minute to “search” for our name.  Maybe paper beats technology?)  Despite a crowd of 23K runners, packet pick-up was quick and easy.

One thing I love about living in the city? My (mostly) car-free lifestyle!

I have to admit, I knew this was going to be a large race, but when I heard that 23,000 people had registered and it was walker/stroller/kid friendly I began to doubt just how much running we’d actually be doing.   Since I was running with my husband (and it was a non-timed event), I wasn’t planning on racing, but I did want to RUN a 5K.  They released the runners every few minutes in waves of 2,000 runners and while we passed some people walking in the first quarter mile, it wasn’t too bad.  The event was more of a silly experience anyway so we had fun, stopped a few times to take photos and just enjoyed the fact that we were running together.

Not very colorful… yet…

Every kilometer, we ran through a “color zone.”  (AKA volunteers doused runners with a spray of chalky-color-madness.)  We could spot the “color” zones ahead and when we got to the first one, my husband said, “And this is what chemical warfare probably looks like.”  Yikes!

Oh, there’s some color!

So much fun…

But the best part of the entire experience had to be the “Color” throw at the end.  Every 15 minutes, a crowd of runners gathers at the finish, and are instructed to throw their “color” at the same time.  Throughout the race the organizers remind runners to “wait to throw your color” and it’s a good thing they did.  I probably would have pelted the hubby the first second I got a chance. My patience was rewarded.  The “color throw” was quite magical.  This was easily the most photogenic running event I’ve ever participated in…

Nice cloud!

This wasn’t a timed race, and I didn’t wear a watch.  To me it was more about just getting out there and having fun.  I didn’t even think about stopping to take a snapshot, and that was refreshing.  Not everyone who participated was a runner, and many participants walked most of the course.  The event was well coordinated, the waves worked, the lanes were wide, and the walkers didn’t really affect me much.  In many respects, I hoped that this event showed folks of all fitness backgrounds that events could be fun and non-judgmental.  It can be scary entering a “race” – and I hope the first-timers who signed up for The Color Run will continue racing.  I kinda wish this was my first race, though it would make non-colorful races seem a bit bland in comparison.  (And no, I didn’t have any problems washing it out of my hair, though I’m not a platinum blonde…)

Wouldn’t the world be prettier with more color?

Riding home, covered in color…

Final Time:  Who knows?  Color:  Yes please.

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