Whoever thought of the Color Run, must be beaming with pride right now. Tagged as the “Happiest 5k on the Planet,” this running event has been making hugely successful rounds in several countries. On August 17th, 2014, the Color Run took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the very first time. The event lured in just short of 15,000 participants, who were all eager to find out whether running 5 kilometers on a early Sunday morning would be more fun if they got completely doused with food grade colored powder. Amidst the hefty registration cost and the extreme hype around it, the Color Run became one of the most successful international running events held in the Malaysian capital.
I was lucky enough to be one of the participants of this “happy event,” which aimed to promote running as a healthy practice. But before I reveal my thoughts about it, let me explain the mechanics of the Color Run, which is really quite simple.
First and foremost, runners should be wearing white shirts during the run. And no, there are no severe punishments against not wearing white in the Color Run, but wearing any other color automatically tags you as a party-pooper! When runners complete a kilometer, volunteers reward them by throwing powder all over their body. The Color Run is an untimed race, so there’s no real pressure to get to the finish line in the shortest time possible. It is absolutely clear that promoters want to entice runners and non-runners alike to the event.
Let me just say that the idea of the powder-throwing is fun, but serious runners may encounter some issues during the run. Let me elaborate on this argument. I started running a few months before the Color Run, and this was actually my first big running event alongside thousands of people. Seeing that this was my huge running debut, I pressured myself to run the 5 kilometers as fast as I could. But I soon realized that my goals did not necessarily fit the event’s objectives. And that sweat and colored powder did not particularly make a sexy combination.
My biggest mistake was to be one of the first runners to reach the “color” lines. During this time, the designated throwers, which seemed to me were all eager teenagers, were not yet rationing their bucket-loads of powder. Needless to say, they gave me everything they had and did not spare my face. Spewing a mouthful of powder from my mouth, in the middle of a run on a humid Malaysian morning was not the highlight of the Color Run for me. The most enjoyable part was the “Color Concert” at the end. Organizers set up a large stage in the park near the finish line. A DJ and an Australian-accented host were hired to pump up the crowd by blasting electronic and pop music. The huge chunk of the green space in front of the stage became an instant dance floor. Of course not all color runners stayed for the concert. Interestingly, the ones who partied like no tomorrow were mostly young Malaysians. For me, this was the best part of the entire event. I was amazed about how the crowd danced and jumped off their feet, most likely high on the endorphins released after their 5-kilometer conquest. To me, it was like seeing a “very wholesome, healthy version” of a rave, held on Sunday morning. It was indeed bizarre and refreshing at the same time.
When the host asked the crowd to simultaneously throw their colored powder-packets high up, the event became a photographer’s dream. Various colors filled the air for a few seconds, and it was absolutely incredible to look at. My words may not be enough to explain the visual extravaganza that unfolded, but all I can say is that it would be very hard not to smile during those few seconds.
If you missed out on the Color Run in Kuala Lumpur, I have a feeling it will make a comeback on Malaysian soil next year. You may also check out the Color Run event schedule. As mentioned, this is an international event that is held all over the world almost all year round. So if you love traveling and running, why not consider planning a trip to a place where the Color Run will be held. It’s like killing two birds with one stone… a very colorful stone that is.
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