Thursday, June 27

what happens at the Color Run?

I've been trying to get more active lately and one way that I stay motivated is by signing up for 5Ks!  Since I know that even walking a 5K will result in pain when I'm out of shape, I get movin' when I know one is coming up.  While walking and running are not Mr. Q's favorite form of exercise (the bicycle is his passion), he has supported me by signing up with me for every 5K I've done so far!  Two weeks ago I participated in my favorite 5K yet - the Color Run!  What other event can get my husband to show up in a pink tutu?  What other event sells amazing fanny packs?  What other event turns its participants into human tie-dye?  The Color Run is where it's at!

I loved the Color Run for several reasons.  First, it's very low-pressure.  Unlike the last 5K I did, which used electronic chips in the participants' numbers to track who was winning, this 5K was not really about winning at all.  There were so many Color Runners that it was actually impossible for everyone to start at once - instead, groups of participants gather at the starting line in shifts beginning at 9 A.M.  Second, I liked that the color stations were spread out on the course so that there was always something to look forward to - that kept me from tiring out like I did in some of the other 5Ks I've done.  Finally, I love supporting great causes that are close to my heart and a portion of the Roanoke Color Run proceeds went to help the American Cancer Society and the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center.

Our team captain, our good friend Becky, came down from DC to participate - this was not her first Color Run and she convinced us all to join in the fun when she heard it was coming to Roanoke.  We lucked out with perfect weather on race day - lots of sunshine, but very little humidity.

Mr. Q and one of his bicycle club friends dressed to match - it was definitely an "I'll wear it if he will" thing!  They got a LOT of attention and compliments on their neon tutus.  There were a lot of Color Runners in costumes - everything from angel and fairy wings to cowboy hats to a wedding dress and veil.

The fun started even before we got to the race.  At packet pick-up we all received t-shirts, headbands, wristbands and race numbers, temporary tattoos and a color pack (I got purple).  We also got instructions to save our color packs for the end of the 5K.  As the starting line, there were guys on scaffolds with water guns full of colored water ready to give us our first shot of color (bright pink and blue) and even one guy with a bucket who seemed to be choosing his targets very deliberately.  There were also water gun snipers perched on top of every bridge we went under on the course and at the water station!  They were also throwing prizes into the crowd - one of my friends got a Stuff Cuff!

As you go through the 5K, there are color zones along the way where Color Run volunteers do their best to coat participants with colored powder in condiment bottles (it's dyed cornstarch).  Here's a map of the Roanoke course.  Each color zone also features really fun music - lots of 80's songs and dance music.  We learned after the first station that it's best to run through or you inhale a lot of color!  Some participants wear bandanas over their noses and mouths - it makes them look like bandits but it is a great idea, especially for those with allergies or respiratory problems.  Here's a picture of my team after going through all of the color stations.

The Runicorn is the rainbow-colored unicorn mascot of The Color Run.  Like us, he started the day clean.

After completing the 5K, participants gather at the stage for the color throw!  The announcer counts down and then everyone opens their color pouch - everyone gets covered and it's such an amazing, fun moment!  The afterparty is a lot of fun - a lot of Color Runners stay for all of the color throws and end up a very deep shade of purple.  My friends and I did two color throws and got covered in purple and teal.

Post color throw (photobombed by Becky's husband Matt)

So much fun!  I hope the Color Run can come back to Roanoke next summer because I would sign up again in a heartbeat.


  1. Love your pictures! Looks like you had a blast.

    1. Thanks Micah! Reading about your Color Run experience in Des Moines was one of the reasons I got so excited that it came to Roanoke!

  2. I would love to do a color run so day! I never seem to find out about them till after they happen, and by that I mean I see people after the run covered in color around town.

    1. It was so much fun! I'm now following the Color Run on Facebook so I don't miss it next year. It was also really fun to run around Roanoke with a blue face afterward :)