Generally speaking, I go into most 5K races with few expectations, simply looking to have fun and perhaps hit a new personal record. I don’t expect the race itself to “give” much to me…except the opportunity to run a few miles with a bunch of
strangers other runners and get a t-shirt out of the experience. Free coffee at the finish line is a plus, too.
However, when I headed downtown for the St Louis Color Run 5K last Saturday, I will admit that I had some expectations. This race is marketed as “the happiest 5K on the planet” so I felt justified in expecting it to be…well, HAPPY!
You’ve probably seen some of the posters and pictures from this nationwide 5K race series…people covered in rainbows of color splatters, huge smiles on their faces, waving their arms in the air or riding triumphantly on the shoulders of a friend. It’s hard not to feel happy when you see the glossy displays of color and the sheer pleasure and triumph on every face.
On Saturday morning, I headed downtown with my boyfriend to see what this gloriously happy 5K was all about. The day didn’t start out on a particularly happy note as we drove down Highway 40 with a steady drizzle of rain falling on the windshield. I don’t have a problem running in the rain (I enjoy it, usually!) but when I think of a HAPPY race, I think of sunshine and butterflies…not puddles and ponchos.
It was pointless to worry about the rain, though – rain or shine, I was going to be a mess by the time I reached the finish line – what’s a little extra water? After several minutes of navigating the one-way streets downtown, we found an open parking garage and quickly made our way to the start line. It took about 15 minutes before I was able to start, as they were sending out waves of people in 5 minute intervals. I wasn’t able to connect with any of my friends before the race (it’s hard to find people in a sea of 1,000 white t-shirts) but I just told myself to enjoy it and have fun regardless.
After about a quarter mile of running past tutus and tiaras (apparently it’s popular to dress up for this race) I heard someone calling my name and turned around to see two of my good friends. I stuck with them the rest of the way and we talked the entire time, which was so much fun!
The color stations weren’t exactly what I was expecting… I didn’t realize we would have to go up to a volunteer and specifically ask them to spray us with color. For some reason, after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the awesome posters on the Color Run website, I pictured “color machines” showering color all over us as we ran by – or a similarly innovative method. But nope, volunteers with plastic bottles of colored powder! It was still a lot of fun, though!
Three miles have never flown by so quickly for me. Because of the color stations and the distraction of good conversation with friends, I was shocked when the finish line came into view. We coasted in at a nice, easy pace and then evaluated the damage. 🙂 I was pretty covered with color on my face, arms, and t-shirt, but thankfully I didn’t get too much in my hair. I’ve seen some horror stories posted on the Facebook page…people that have been showering up to 3 times every day since the race, in an attempt to get the blue and green highlights out of their hair. Yikes. The color came off of my skin with some good scrubbing and a bar of soap, and it washed completely out of my shorts, which was a pleasant surprise.
We hung around downtown for a little while after the race, taking pictures and shivering in the drizzle of rain. All in all, this 5K was a great time and definitely a fun race to put in the books. We could have used some “happier” weather, but the rest of the experience was a lot of fun!
The Color Run is quite expensive for a 5K (almost double what I’m used to paying for smaller, local races!) but I guess someone has to cover the cost of all that
pixie dust powdered color they’re spraying all over us! I don’t think I’d pay for it again, but it was definitely a good one-time race and I’m glad to check it off my “Bucket List: Race Edition”. 🙂