Recap of the Chicago Color Run

Last Sunday both Missy and I participated in our first ever Color Run.  You may remember Missy talking about forming a team to raise money for Remember Betty (You can find out more here.). She is co-captain of the Chicago chapter and this was her first local event. She hopes to have at least one more this year, so I hope some of our local readers and friends can join us next time!

To call the Color Run a race would not be particularly accurate. It is an event. Prior to the start we joked about “who would want to sign up for the run wave?” I have now learned that if you want to run pretty much at all, you should probably sign up in the runner wave. There are huge groups walking right from the start and there is really no way you can run for quite awhile after the start. It is not a joke that they call the second wave (with the majority of participants) the “party wave.” We planned to just enjoy this as an event and were totally okay with this. It isn’t even a timed event – nothing to prove here.

Pre-Start line-up

Pre-Start line-up


We had signed up to receive our bib and goody bag in the mail. (The extra fee was worth the extra little bit of sleep to us!) I had prepared everything the night before after talking to some running friends about the best way to approach a color run. I don’t mind getting dirty, but I didn’t want to stay dirty and I most definitely did not want to trash my car. I was also slightly paranoid about the dye. I have heard horror stories about dye getting in eyes. I told Missy I was going to wear sunglasses even if it was raining and she suggested she had something even better – goggles! We also had people suggest that if we didn’t want to be blowing our noses with blue, yellow, magenta and orange all week that we wear a bandana. This was our finished look!

Don't we look awesome? :)

Don’t we look awesome? :)


We got downtown about 45 minutes prior to the start time which was perfect. We met up with two other girls on the team, Diane and Chrissy. Thankfully they were still willing to be seen in public with us after seeing our race attire. :)

The race start was pretty uneventful. Our first color station was magenta. The color stations are basically volunteers with squeeze bottles of colored powder. I did not wear a garmin and had no concept of how far we had come, but I read somewhere that the color stations were at each kilometer. No idea if this is correct, but it does seem about right.

About 15 minutes after the race started I got a text from a friend saying “I hope you didn’t get caught in the rain.” Um…not raining here. Yet. But we live directly west of the city so I had a sneaking suspicion that if it was raining by her, it was most definitely coming. This was our view to the west. Uh oh.


Needless to say, after passing the orange station the rain came and it came hard. It was one of those things that you were either going to be absolutely miserable or you were going to embrace it. This was our attempt at looking miserable.



But then we decided choose the latter. I mean, really, when can you jump in puddles in the middle of normally busy streets in Chicago?


The color stations became a complete mess. It actually seemed like some of the volunteers may have bailed because it was mostly just runners digging in the bags full of color throwing it on each other. Only slight problem was that the combination of rain and powder was dying skin. Missy dug into the blue powder for our team and her hands ended up looking somewhat like a Smurf.



A kind volunteer that stuck around through the rain!

A kind volunteer that stuck around through the rain!



We continued taking pictures along the route, and just generally laughing about the whole experience.


The very last station was a glitter station.  They are calling the 2015 races the “Shine Tour.” I have to say in hindsight this might be my least favorite of the stations.  Do you know how hard it is to get rid of glitter? I made a major clean-up effort on Sunday afternoon but I’m still finding it in random places.

After finishing the race, we were given medals and extra packets of color that we were supposed to dump on each other.  We might have had just a little too much fun with this part.




Clean up after this run was interesting.  I think the rain made this much more challenging than it would have been otherwise.  On the way home Missy was reading the clean-up instructions that included things like “Dust any loose powder our of your hair” and “Remove any excess powder before adding water.” We kind of didn’t have a choice on that one! We had our concerns that we would be colorful for awhile, but some good shower scrubs mostly did the trick.

I was really not sure I would enjoy this run.  My attitude towards new and different races is that I will try them once.  Some of them end up being one and done.  I can definitely say I would do this one again.  This event is HUGE.  I saw somewhere that it is one of the largest 5K’s in Chicago.  I have done a lot of Chicago race events, and it did not feel that big or chaotic.  It was very well organized.  If you know me, you know that is saying a LOT.  I am not a fan of chaos at runs.  Crowds are fine, disorganization drives me mad.  If you have a color run in your town I would definitely suggest trying it out!  The Color Run touts itself as “the Happiest 5K on the Planet” and ran over 300 events in 50 countries last year.  Chances are good there is one near you!

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