Let’s talk about runs, for a moment. More specifically: Fun runs. Color runs. Neon runs. Dye runs. “Get yourself filthy!” runs. “Holy crap my armpits are still blue!” runs. “Have ridiculously goofy fun with your buddies until you wanna puke from a Goofy Fun Overdose and even THAT is still kinda fun because everything is coming up pink, yellow, blue, and purple!” runs.
We’re talking REALLY specifically about The Color Run, which took place on May 10, 2014 in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Dubbed “The Happiest 5K on The Planet”, The Color Runs aims to promote happiness and healthiness in one ginormous gaudy bauble, getting people of every fitness level out there and running, walking, gallivanting, or sashaying on a weekend morning, with plenty of music, excitement, happiness, and yes the 4 Color Zones. People wear white and get pelted with brightly-colored corn starch so that when they reach the Finish Line, they’re not just a hot mess, they are something… wholly other. Once they reach the finish, runners are treated to a Finish Festival with music, color sprays, confetti, and all sorts of group happiness.
The Color Run also gives back by donating to local and national charities. So during all the Happy Fun Times and health/fitness awareness, the event is giving back to the community — over $3 million worth over the past two years. Definitely nothing to sneeze at.
Anyway, several friends formed a team for the event and I figured why not go ahead and register? It was as good an opportunity to get outside for some exercise on a Saturday morning, joining about two dozen running buddies and hundreds (thousands?) of other locals participating in the event. It was a nice morning for a run, too: clear, sunny, not too hot or humid, and breezy. Kristi and I carpooled down to the event, found easy parking, and met the entire group at Huizenga Fountain at around 7 AM. And man were we representing! Shout outs to Brooks, Cassandra, Denise, Indira, Ines, Jose, Julie, Katarina, Kristi, Marcela, Mare + Richard + family, Pat, Rosa, Sonya, and a zillion other people I know I’m forgetting.
Here’s our Start Area Montage. Buckle in, there will be more than a few montages this evening:
Several of us were decked out in our race swag. The Color Run provides some decent accouterments, including a white cotton t-shirt (which bucks race etiquette conventions: you’re SUPPOSED to wear it to the event!), multicolored headband, temporary tattoos, and other knickknacks, all house in a nifty rainbow-brite tote that I guarantee you’ll never use again unless you’re heading to the beach and can’t find your usual carryalls, and end up using this one in a pinch. No matter. I didn’t partake in the tattoos, but I did put on my Shaggy wig from the Dash From The Past run and plopped the headband over my dazzling bangs. I was off to the races that day.
After the taking of a few zillion group pics, the race started in earnest by seeing runners off in multiple waves. Kristi, Ines, and I (our awesomsesauce running team from this year’s Walt Disney World Half Marathon) figured we would just walk and enjoy the whole damn thing. Kristi and I may or may not have been drinking Screwdrivers the entire time either. But no matter. Soon we were off and walking and enjoyed a 3.1 mile strolling party around Fort Lauderdale.
Here’s the course, courtesy of Garmin and Google Maps.
YES, I Garmin’ed this race. Why? I haven’t the slightest…
It was a quick, easy, fun course. You’ll notice that at around the 0.7-Mile point, the course took us through the Kinney Tunnel. As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, the Kinney Tunnel is haunted. I’ve never seen the man in the suit, but the Indians are there for sure. I made a rather loud remark about this before entering. I assured a few rather terrified looking women that (1) it was daytime, and (2) there were WAY too many of us running through for any apparitions to appear. I need to keep my big yap shut more often…
Let’s have a bit of a Tunnel Montage!
Now as mentioned before, there are four Color Zones, during which you will immediately be pelted with brightly-colored corn starch. These Color Zones are (in order):
and finally Blue.
There were plenty of spectators out there. People cheering, people watching, people with dogs, people without dogs, dogs without people, men without hats… hey speaking of Men Without Hats, they were blasting music on the PA at every Color Zone. At Yellow, it was 80s music (Devo’s “Whip It”) and we just started 80s dancing. You know, with all the ridiculous kicks and swinging arms and what-not. At Purple, they were blasting Alice Cooper’s “Poison” and other such subversive fare. Plenty of devil horns and fists in the air.
But my personal favorite was the Pink Zone. There was a woman out in slippers and a bathrobe, walking her dog, and TOTALLY. GETTING. DOWN. to the funk music being played on the soundsystem. I mean, she was GROOVIN:
So I did what I absolutely HAD to do.
I joined in.
We took a LOT of pictures out on the course. Why not? You’re paying for the experience — revel in it! Enjoy every second! Let even the barest scintilla of a freak flag fly. There was plenty of singing, dancing, goofiness, idiocy, and laughter by the metric bushel. Is a bushel a metric measurement? Ahh I forget. While I’m looking it up, why not check out our Fun During The Race Montage??
Otherwise, it was a fun morning stroll. Or rolling party. Whatever you want to call it. We were having a great time. Those alleged Screwdrivers were allegedly going down quite nicely, if that were the case. Which it may or may not be. ANYWAY… there’s not much else to report, really. We walked the entire way, posed for a bunch of pictures, cheered several other “runners” on, and just enjoyed the festivities. The course took us looped us back towards the Huizenga Park area via 3rd avenue, over the bridge and looping to the Finish Line and accompanying Finish Festival. I think we were the last of our group to arrive. We did indeed stop for a ton of pics, which I’m sure had EVERYTHING to do with us being last. All good though.
Here’s our Finish Line/Festival Montage:
And our Meet Back Up With Our Buddies Montage:
The Finish Festival seemed like a real party. Lots of color in the air, lots of music blasting and dancing and neon corn starch getting everyone even filthier! What a hoot. Meeting back up with our buddies was fun though. Our pal Stephanie was there; she hadn’t run but she had a cooler full of Stellas, which made her by FAR the most kickbutt person of the race. We hung out for awhile, posed for pics, laughed, shared stories… and that was that. Another ridiculously fun 5K for the books.
So whither The Color Run? I think so. We had a great time. The amenities were nice, the race was fun, it was well organized with a fun finish area, and there’s definitely a STRONG family environment, which makes it a great way for the whole family to get out there and be active together. If you’re looking for a 5K to test your running mettle, this assuredly ain’t it. Oh sure, you can run the whole thing if you want to, sprint for a PR, try to push your limits and blablabla. But why would you want to on a run like THIS? This event is utterly for fun, and if that’s what you’re looking for I’d give The Color Run a real whirl. Here’s the video: