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Tips for The Color Run

Updated on April 15, 2017

I didn't really know what to expect...

The Color Run. The Happiest 5K on the Planet they say. I would have to agree! It is hard to wear a frown when so much fun and color is everywhere around you! Even though I did a little internet research before reporting to the starting line, I still learned a lot from actually being there. I didn't really fully know what to expect so I wanted to share what I learned in hopes it would help someone else in their planning.

The starting line
The starting line | Source

This promotional video gives you a good picture of what the race is like...

Prep for the Race

You can find a lot of tips from The Color Run website. Here is the link to their FAQ section:

Of course, first, you must go to to register for the race. Upon registration, I choose to pay the extra fee on the website to have my Color Run package delivered by mail just because I wasn't sure what my schedule would be the day before. One of my packages didn't arrive before the race, so I had a friend pick it up for me at the race site the day before without any difficulties. In your race pack will be your Color Run t-shirt, bracelet, tattoos, your race number, and a Color Run sweatband all in a cute Color Run tote bag.

Have you ever participated in The Color Run 5K?

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What to Wear?

You are supposed to wear white shirts, hats, etc. so as to display all the crazy colors you will be doused with as you run. My family chose to wear our Color Run t-shirts that come in your race pack. Our group wore:

-the recommended sunglasses for eye protection (or you could wear goggles)

-a wristband to hold cash

-bandannas over our hair (to protect that expensive color job!)

-extra bandannas to cover your mouth and nose from the color dust

-smartphone wrapped in plastic wrap for protection (gotta get pictures of this fun!)

I had not planned to wear any special socks or tutus but when you get there you definitely get in the spirit of the event. I ended up buying tutus and crazy knee socks from the Color Run sales booths. So much for saving money, but we you can't put a price on enhancing your family's fun and pictures!

The Race!

You come to the starting area. The Color Run has workers on the microphone pumping up the crowd and music blaring to rev you up. The runners start the race in intervals so as to not have everyone going through the color stations at once. The workers throw prizes out while you wait for your turn to go through the starting gate. And, then it is your turn and you are off.....

The pink color station
The pink color station | Source

The Color!

As you go through the race you go through 4 different color stations spaced out along the race course. For our race the colors were blue, purple, pink and yellow. I am not sure if they are the same for every race or not. The color is in powder made from colored cornstarch. You will definitely need those sunglasses to protect your eyes and possibly that extra bandanna to cover your mouth and nose as the cloud of dust can be pretty overpowering. You can go as fast or slow as you want through the color station. You can linger and ask the volunteers to cover you. You can lay down and roll down in the color to get totally covered!

The Happy Finish Line!
The Happy Finish Line! | Source
The kids and I covered in color standing in the confetti at the finish line.
The kids and I covered in color standing in the confetti at the finish line. | Source

The Finish Line

At the end of the Color Run is the big finish line with lots of celebratory confetti waiting for you! The workers will hand you a color packet to take with you to the big party up ahead. After you finish you can join the big group of runners below the stage. There are again Color Run workers up on stage playing more music and throwing out prizes and more color packets. Every 10 minutes or so they have everyone pumped up, jumping and throwing up their color packets for a massive color cloud! Just a note of warning, this color cloud can definitely be a lot for your sinuses to definitely might want to take your bandanna for cover at this point....especially if you are near the center of the crowd and cloud!

The after party
The after party | Source

Preserving Your Color on Your Color Run Shirt

I did a little research on this topic before the race as well. They have cleaning stations at the end. I recommend only going through the dusting off station if you want to try to preserve your color (they blow you off with a leaf blower). A lot of people like to try to preserve the color patterns that decorate their clothes by the end of the race. I couldn't find very much information about where anyone had found much success preserving their color. At the time of my race, the Color Run website recommended spraying your shirt with vinegar and then ironing it before washing it in cold water. I tried this with sadly no success and read blogs of others that had also tried this process and had no success at preserving the color. I did have a friend who ran in the same race I did that said she had decent success in preserving the colors on her shirts. She had tried the vinegar method on a previous run with no success and noticed the only color that was preserved were the spots that got wet with water or sweat during the race. So she sprayed the shirts with water, let them dry to set in the color, and then washed them in cold water resulting in much more color preservation. I plan to try that method next time.

My hand after the race before washing it.
My hand after the race before washing it. | Source

A few side notes...

*I had minimal success with my phone wrapped in plastic was hard to get good pictures because the wrap kept wrinkling around the lens. I will try a ziploc bag next time which I think would have better results.

*They do pass out water for drink breaks along the race route. I know some people would drizzle some water over their shirts to make the colors run together to make unique patterns.

*The color does get all over you and requires some scrubbing in the shower to get off but it does eventually come off!

Hope everyone has fun when they try their own Color Run! All the colors make for great pictures!


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