Nothing against The Color Run, but I always thought the whole “happiest 5k” thing was a bold statement. Happiest on the whole planet?? Really? Do you have science to back this up?
Well after my experience on Saturday I think I might just be a believer. Thousands of white clad people flooded Charm City’s stadium complex at Camden Yards for the last Color Run of the year and I did not see one frowny face among the crowd the entire time aside from my 2-and-a half-year old’s when we passed through the yellow throw area of the course. More on that in a minute.
I was an Ambassador for this event and spent the past several weeks wallpapering every available surface with colorful race flyers to get the word out while my mini co-ambassador had been informing everyone within ear shot that she was doing the Color Run with mommy. We were signed up for the second race which began at noon; fine by me because it was pretty darn cold earlier in the morning and temps would struggle to hit 40 degrees later in the day. Here is Betty’s flat runner:
Way cuter than any of mine. On top of all this she was also layered in a heavy jacket, gloves, and I stowed a warm blanket in the cargo area of our jogger. This would be my first event ever running with a stroller and the farthest distance I had attempted up to that point.
In case anyone is wondering what kind we have, it’s a Graco Relay and I previously reviewed it here. It’s an AWESOME stroller with a much better price point than the BOB if you are in the market. I also learned this weekend that I can fit it in my tiny car. SCORE!
Anyway we were obviously not the only stroller there. Young, old, big, small…every type of person you could think of had come out for this Color Run and everyone was in a good mood. We arrived a little after 10am as the party was rocking from the first race, picked up my bib and swag, and made our way over to the stage where a DJ was playing fun music and people were dancing and hurling color packets on each other. The air was thick with cornstarch. Betty was enamored with it all.
With another hour to kill, we ran around and checked out some of the sponsors and food vendors they had on hand. I got us a chocolate doughnut to snack on. She ate all the chocolate off and left me with the slobbery cake part. Thanks, kiddo. Then she wanted to dance and I was happy to oblige. They started up a great Zumba-inspired warm up at around 11:30 and before I knew it we were part of a conga line to the start.
I am now a firm believer that all races should start with a conga line. It was awesome.
Here is a shot from where we were waiting back toward the stadium. It’s a little glarey, but LOOK AT ALL THOSE PEOPLE! And there were still tons more behind that!
Because there were so many of us. they let us go in waves. Betty and I were in the second wave so we didn’t have to wait long, but there was an emcee right there at the start throwing out prizes like shirts and hats and entertaining everyone so an even longer wait wouldn’t have been terrible. The Color Run is not timed, but I wanted to time myself anyway to see how I fared with the stroller. I started up my Garmin and off we went.
It was difficult at first. Because of the nature of the race, people were walking in large groups and of course I didn’t want to mow anyone over. It was slow going, but just before we hit the first color – BLUE!! – things opened up a little. Betty would shout/announce every color before we reached it. I never thought our race experience would be so educational.
So…blue. We screamed our way through it and then Betty was holding up her hands to show me the blue on them. And then she looked up at me and I saw that she had a big blue Braveheart streak right across her face. She was laughing and having the best time; cheering me on as I ran. It was awesome.
Next we ran through our baseball stadium: Camden Yards. They had bubble machines set up on either side of the promenade and a DJ playing music. All along the course there would be various musical acts which was a great touch. Our next color was PINK!! and as we approached I heard one of the volunteers yell “stroller!”. They were very respectful of the fact that Betty is small and were mostly tossing the color lightly at her feet. I appreciated that so much.
At the mile and a half mark I was starting to get winded, but I kept on pushing with the help of my front seat driver. Obviously as we passed Ravens stadium we would get colored PURPLE!! as cheerleaders cheered us on and on the other side of the stadium the Marching Ravens (our football team’s band!) was playing. That part was my favorite!
Another great thing about this race…two water stops. I’ve never been in a 5k with more than one. I didn’t use either of them, but with the amount of powder flying through the air it was great to have those multiple options. The guy manning the second water station was wearing a ridiculous foam wig and high fived me as we ran by yelling “great job, momma!!” There was a nice little downhill break and then Betty was shouting “ORANGE!!” and the orange was flying at our feet. Yellow!! came shortly after and that’s where we ran into the biggest snag of the day.
If there was a stroller memo, the yellow volunteers did not get it. I knew as soon as the color hit the side of my face that Betty was not going to be happy about yellow. And she wasn’t. I pulled over briefly to clean her face off and spit a bunch of powder out. In every photo taken from here on out, my teeth would be green.
The rainbow arches of the finish line came into view a short time later and I sprinted as if my life depended on it. There were some photographers right there and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to get race photos back in my life. Then volunteers were handing Betty some color packets (Pink AND purple! Lucky girl!) and I was shutting down my Garmin and wiping off the yellow that had caked all over it to see my time:
Not shabby for my first attempt at a stroller 5k!! Holy moly did my arms feel like jello.
The next 10 minutes or so were spent trying to get cleaned up. The jogger was FILLED with color to the point where I had to flip it over and shake it out. I had an additional shirt for B in a plastic bag in the cargo area and baby wipes to clean her face. We grabbed something to drink from the water table and hung around by the finish to cheer other people on. A woman stopped to tell us that she had seen us out there and we were such a big motivator for her. It made me feel like a million bucks and Betty said “That lady is so nice!” I asked her if she had had fun running with mommy and she told me YES! And that she liked all the colors except for yellow.
Yellow used to be her favorite color. I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ve moved on from that.
If you have the opportunity to do a Color Run, don’t think about it…JUST DO IT. It totally lived up to the hype. Everything was well organized. The course was great, the people were great, the color throws were great. It was just a laid back, family-friendly, fun, non-competitive time with lots of laughter, and great music. We mostly observed the finish party from a distance after our race because Betty had had enough of cornstarch for one day (and I had too), but seeing all the colors flying through the air was enough to put a big smile on both our faces. We are definitely doing it again the next time the Color Run visits Charm City.
It was my favorite race experience ever because I got to run it with my girl. 🙂
I hope everyone had a GREAT weekend! Did you run or race? Tell me all about it!