I’d heard about color runs…how trendy and fun they were. But I’m so busy with work and kids’ stuff that I totally missed that one was coming to my town until two days beforehand when David Willey, editor-in-chief of Runner’s World magazine asked me if I wanted three “tickets” to the already sold-out event. Some context: It was perfect timing, as I had just put out a message to the universe that we needed to find something fun to do—except I wasn’t even sure what was fun anymore—and then I got David’s email. I’d just been telling him about all that was going on (work, a demanding 16-year-old even busier than me, and oh, yes, there is the poor little 6-year-old, who’s been getting dragged along everywhere, occasionally crying for food and water) so it was a welcome surprise and gesture.
More context: Sunday morning was the morning after prom. It was cold. It was raining (lightly). Would I even be able to get them out of bed? Would I even get myself out of bed? My first surprise of the day was that yes, they did want to get out of bed at 7 a.m. on a Sunday. We layered up (more on that later) and off we went. Second surprise was—by pure luck—we got an amazing parking spot. As a third surprise, even though there were 6,500 people signed up, we were ready to go in the first “wave” and the kids were looking happy and having fun. Fourth surprise: So was I!
Off we went. Adrenaline caused the girls to go fast at the start, and all my pleading to stay together went unheeded. Fifth surprise: I kept catching up with them. This is an untimed run, so it is really mellow (compared to the only other 5K I’d run). There were kids everywhere. People of all ages, sizes, and yes…colors! The rain held off and was just a gentle mist. As the girls ran, the layers came off until I had five shirts tied around my running belt. We ran. We walked. We laughed. The little one was a total trooper. And towards the end, after she was totally “bombed,” she said this was the most fun ever.
There was a moment when my teenager and I remarked how weird it was to be talking about “bombs” in a fun way only a few weeks after Boston. But the spirit of Color Me Rad was like the antithesis of what happened in Boston. These were love bombs! This was just plain fun. Good exercise on a Sunday morning.
When we were done, we were filthy and exuberant. And my magic running shoes ran their last race while getting baptized in colored pixie dust, a fitting end for the perfect pair of shoes. And the perfect way to reconnect with my kids in a fun way that we ALL enjoyed. No one was left behind after all, and we crossed the finish together smiling, laughing, and glad we got out of bed for it.
And the color? It’s cornstarch (GMO alert) with artificial coloring. Probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it does wash out surprisingly easily (I was kind of bummed because I liked my hair a little pink). But at least we weren’t eating those GMOs, just splashing them all over each other.
We’d all do it again. No surprises there!
Never heard of such a thing. Fun!!
Glad to see that David Willey twisted your arm:) You’ll find a lot of laughs at races, and hope to see you at the RW 5K, 10K or half marathon in October. I’m registered for the 10K, it was a real treat last year. Barring no issues on travel, I should be there for the 10K:) David went whizzing by me at mile 5 last year. I’d expect nothing less from a talented runner who sure writes a fun column. Thanks too for including your experience with your kids, always fun to hear & I’ve enjoyed David’s reports over the years w/his in Runner’s World.
Love. LOVE this! And what a wonderful shot of you and your girls! It looks like so much fun and what a great memory to have with your mom. Cool stuff coming to the Lehigh Valley. Lucky girls all around!
I should also say, what an amazing memory to have with your girls. (That one on your right looks like a super hero, I might add.)
All three ladies look exhilarated! I sincerely hope that the next time I see you, you’ve got a little pink in your hair somewhere. You could always hide a little color underneath like the kids who go to high schools with strict dress codes.
What a fun way for the family to spend together on a Sunday morn. Never heard of it either, but a wonderful event for everyone. You go girls!
Love the glasses!
What do you mean you weren’t even sure what was fun anymore? You and the girls look like the definition of fun! Awesome photo!
Thanks for reviewing this race; I’m so happy that you and your gals are active! I love road races, especially those that encourage “normal” people like me to be active.
I feel compelled to share the following information in the interest of raising awareness and in the hopes that each person will research races like this before s/he chooses to participate.
I participated in a “color race” (not Color Me Rad) in Little Rock, AR in fall 2012. I enjoyed it immensely, even if I thought the entry fee was a bit exorbitant. (Our local marathon nonprofit organization benefitted from this race, but I’m not sure what % of race profits the donation to the marathon was.)
Several months later I saw COLOR ME RAD (CMR) scheduled for my town on the same as an event I was already involved in as a volunteer and participant.
I immediately contacted CMR to talk about my concerns. To my knowledge, none of the following information has changed.
First, I think it’s poor corporate citizenship for CMR to schedule their race on the same day as a local race. (yes, CMR appeared to be aware of this other race)
Second, CMR promotes that the race benefits the Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock, but I think this claim is misleading. I spoke with someone on staff of RMH to ask the details of how they were benefiting. RMH will receive $75 for each volunteer the charity recruits and any money race participants raise **above and beyond their race fees.** In other words, CMR doesn’t seem to be sacrificing too much for this charity.
In my opinion, CMR is not truly invested in the local community…and CMR is not as charitable as they might seem.
At best, it’s disingenous. At worst, it’s exploitative.
So, please check out the corporate races you choose to participate in…and choose locally-produced races whenever possible.
Fun. Fitness. For Life.