The Color Run: A Prep Guide

By Chantel Elder

I became a runner this year. It also happened that the last year of my life had been the most stressful year out of all my other 30 – so I think running became an obvious answer to that stress. Slowly but surely, I started crossing off my list of running goals:

  • 5k (completed!)
  • 10k (completed!)
  • ½ marathon (completed!)

While running was enjoyable it was also largely a coping mechanism, a stress reliever, my sweaty place where I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything other than my perfectly terrible pop music.

Once I completed the half marathon, I felt accomplished and enough time seemed to have passed that my stressful storm was behind me. I really felt like I had proven myself to the “real” runners out there and so I vowed to keep running (but go back to the enjoyable distances, which for me is eight miles or less).

And that’s when I heard about The Color Run via the interwebs, naturally. In a nutshell, organizers throw colored paint on you while you run.  Think Holi: Festival of Color… but in exercise gear. The Color Run seemed to be the answer to get me back on the “fun run” track.

I have to work the day of the Sacramento run (August 4), but I am a resourceful girl that doesn’t get discouraged easily so I signed up for the San Francisco run on July 14!

The Inside Scoop:

It was fantastic! It was actually more than fantastic. There’s something delicious about throwing color dust into the air and giving yourself permission to get completely filthy. It’s liberating, and I channeled the long forgotten-teenage-raver-techno-princess in me. Yes world, I used to wear far too much glitter and dance long into the night. I have no shame… and now you know far too much about me. 🙂

So, if you have been on the fence about signing up for the Sacramento Color Run, I say do it! Go ahead and relieve stress, channel your inner childhood and get weird with it… or just go for a really messy 5k. Registration is $50-55 (at first a seemingly steep price for a 5k), but it is 100% worth it. And below are my tips to ensure maximum fun!

My Prep List:

  • Wear a kerchief around your neck to cover your mouth when they throw color dust – it doesn’t taste bad but is a little weird in your throat.
  • Beware – it is the most fun 5k on the planet, but it is also the most dangerous. Prepare for people to dart in front of you…constantly.
  • Take some sort of hip pack.  They give you tons of swag and most of it is pretty legit…as in you get a sweat headband…like an 80’s one.
  • If you wear the sweat headband – because it is cool, wear sun block; otherwise you will get a stripe on your forehead…like my husband did.
  • Find a meeting place ahead of time for all your friends to meet after the run. You will most likely lose everyone at some point in the run.
  • Cover your phone in saran wrap. You won’t look lame – you’ll look smart.
  • Wear white. They tell you to all over the website, and you should do it because it really is more fun.
  • Take a towel for your car seat…unless you don’t care.
  • They don’t sell alcohol afterwards. It seems like they would, but they don’t so do what you will with that information.
  • Don’t worry about whether going to a bar/pub afterwards is going to “look weird.” It won’t. There will be other Color Runners there, looking just as colorful.
  • Buy a loofah or an exfoliating scrub and be prepared for a 45-minute shower. The magical color dust is magically semi permanent.

You can sign up for the Sacramento Color Run here – and be sure to like them on Facebook and Twitter! And if you post pics on Facebook – be sure to tag GOTG in them!



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  1. Amanda Cowman says

    I was at the SF Color Run as well! Agreed, it was more than fantastic! And these are great tips! One thing I was happy I has was my sunglasses!It made it so much easier to see and to keep your eyes open, not worrying about getting color in your eyes. The few times i took them off, i thanked the lord i had them to put back on! A regret I had was not wearing the super cool headband ON MY HEAD. My hairline was the toughest to get color out of, even more so for my blonde friend! Everyone who wore the headband on their hairline had a clean one. So glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! =D

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