What: Color Run 5k
Where/When: Champlain Valley Expo in Essex, VT on Saturday, September 13.
Packet pickup was held at the Expo center from 12-7 pm the day before the race. There was plenty of parking and it was very well-organized; I was in and out in 10 minutes. The swag bag was pretty nice–a vinyl sling bag, a cotton/polyester blend t-shirt (a step up from the cotton T I got at my first Color Run), two temporary tattoos, a bracelet, and a sweat band. They also included Shout Color catchers to use in your laundry after the race–very clever sponsorship, right there!
Since I knew the Color Run isn’t timed, and I would be sticking with my friend Stef regardless of how slow or fast she wanted to go, I really didn’t take “race prep” too seriously. I had two beers on Friday night, but got plenty of sleep. I was up and at ’em at 7, had a bowl of multi-grain Cheerios with milk for breakfast, and headed out. The weather was quite chilly, which, to me, is optimal running weather 🙂
Traffic in Essex was pretty bad, but that’s Rte. 15 at the best of times. I had Ben drop me off outside the Expo so he could run some errands, and so he didn’t have to deal with the parking craziness. People were parking at lots of area businesses in order to avoid parking in the Expo center lot, which actually ended up making things worse. The expo had more than enough parking.
When I arrived, they were in the middle of a Jazzercise warm-up, which was really fun.
I had no trouble finding Stef, her hubby Scott, and their two adorable girls, who had come to cheer on their mommy at her first 5k. We got into the starting chute and danced and talked our way through 4 starting waves–we ended up being in wave 5.
It was kind of weird running through the fair grounds. It was also kind of a tease–seeing all the food stands made me really want nachos and pretzels! First color was yellow, and the folks applying the color were pretty sedate–I only got a small puff. Next up was pink. I thought I had made it through with only a dusting, and turned around to look for Stef. When I turned back, one of the color people was right in front of me. She looked at me, screamed “NO PINK?!?” and proceeded to cover me from head to toe in pink corn starch. It.Was.Amazing! Stef and I laughed about it non-stop for the next 10 minutes.
There was one water stop at a little less than the halfway point, which was also a turnaround to head back into the fairgrounds after winding out one of the access roads. We took plenty of walk breaks because Stefanie had a strained muscle in her ankle and wasn’t actually supposed to be running at all! Third color station was purple, and they did a great job of getting everyone. The final color station was blue, and I have to say, these guys were definitely the most enthusiastic and energetic of color appliers–they were all smurf blue from head to toe, and there was a massive cloud of blue dust that was visible from half a mile away! After we got through blue, I turned to Stef and said, “Hey, those guys back there BLUE me. Hehehehe.” High fives ensued.
After another few minutes, and Stef and I managed to run across the finish line, where we were promptly handed packets of color.
I have no idea what our final time was–I didn’t even bother to start my Nike+ app because I wanted to be able to take pictures, and my phone battery doesn’t do well in cooler temps.
Every Color Run has a post-race party with lots of music, dancing, games, and periodic “color throws,” where everyone throws packets of color all at the same time, and you get even more covered in color than you already were. The party here was very cool–much more fun than the last Color Run I went to. I have to say though, I was somewhat disappointed that I wasn’t handed water upon finishing. I’m sure there were water and snacks available somewhere, but I never saw them. It would have been nice if they were right outside the finisher’s chute.
Flo Photo was there, taking pictures for people. The lines were long, so we didn’t bother. Also, I wasn’t clear on whether or not you had to pay for the pictures. But there were lots of other cool props scattered all over the field so you could take your own pictures. And of course, the color throws made for some pretty awesome pictures too.
Thankfully, Ben brought me a giant sandwich, so the lack of snacks wasn’t an issue, and I had brought my handheld bottle, so I had a drink (although bringing it ended up being a poor choice, as my bottle and holster are now covered in colored corn starch).
On the whole, I recommend doing a Color Run. While the price is somewhat steep at $45, it’s an amazing environment, especially for a first race, or if you’re looking to get a group of friends together to do something fun and active. And the upgrade in t-shirt quality definitely made me a happy camper. My only complaints were the lack of water/snacks, and the fact that we only ran through 4 color stations, when I always thought there are supposed to be 5–one for each km.