It was messy, it was colourful, it was gloriously sunny and it was a whole lot of fun! On Sunday Wembley marked the first Color Run in the UK (it’s American, they don’t use the ‘u’, you have to get over it).
It’s an un-timed 5km run where you get attacked with different coloured powder paint at each kilometer. They call it a ‘run’, there was very little running done by anyone but, as they say themselves, it’s ‘less about your 10 minute miles and more about having the time of your life’! The only rule is that you have to wear white.
It’s fair to say I’ve never participated in a running event that hasn’t had nervous anticipation (vomiting, panic attacks, sheer terror…) built into the excitement but, with my Garmin safely at home, I was nothing but excited. Zoe and I had customised our t-shirts on Saturday night over a couple of glasses of wine and a chick flick (she even got me sewing blanket stitch with pink wool…) and we customised our faces with some neon paint. With my ‘Color Run’ tattoo on my arm, sweatband in place, and phone wrapped safely in cling film (advisable) we were ready to roll.
Wembley was buzzing with excited ‘Color Runners’ when we arrived and they were pumping out some tunes while everyone was getting into the spirit of things. We met up with Kate and a couple of her running buddies and had a bit of a dance. The start was fairly disorganised, they were letting people off in waves of 1,000 at a time but it was a bit of a free for all getting to the start and, with 15,000 participants and 30 degree temperatures, it was crowded & sweaty. Some sort of allocated wave system would have made this a lot smoother.
We jogged along the course, which was fairly well spaced out with people, and before we knew it we were at the first ‘color station’, it was pink! The ‘color dudes’ (made up term) literally throw powdered color all over you, front, back, face, head…there were even people rolling around on the floor! At this point I realised why they advised you to wear sunglasses and was glad I had taken that advice, pink paint in the eye wasn’t the look I was going for.
And off we went again…to the purple zone… then the yellow zone…and finally the orange zone, absorbing new color and dancing around every chance we got. Despite the gentle jogging, Kate & I made it a sprint finish, hand in hand across the line, and that was the best moment of the day! Kate’s long been a running buddy having done everything from 10ks, halves, bogs of doom and marathons together but this was our first Porridge-Frenchy run of 2013 and that makes me so happy!
It all seemed to be over quite quickly and I remain unconvinced that the course was 5k but it was FUN. At the finish line they give you a packet of ‘color’ to carry on the color party. With the DJ still banging out the tunes on the stage the atmosphere had a festival feel about it and everyone was dancing and jumping and throwing their color in the air (it really was as surreal as it sounds).
Honestly, it was overpriced at £30 for a 5k without chip timing or a bag drop but all in all it was a fabulous afternoon and the event had a great feel about it. I’m not sure how it would have worked if it was raining but we were lucky with the weather and that made it all the more enjoyable.
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to screw the time, screw the pace, screw the pressure and just bloody well enjoy it – so get involved, apparently it’s the single largest event series on the planet! Do be warned though, I still have vaguely pink arms and a purple tummy…
I shall now be resuming the use of ‘u’ in colour for the foreseeable future.