The Color Run

The Color Run
The Awesome Mitten-The Color Run
Photo courtesy of The Color Run

“Are you ready for the craziest, most colorful 5K of your life?” Michigan is.

The Color Run, a unique fun run where participants are sprayed with paint, is set to take off in Ypsilanti on July 22nd and Grand Rapids on August 5th. Thousands of competitors from all ages and athleticism are already signed up for the rainbow race, ready for the what the Color Run website details as a “Willy-Wonka tyed-dyed vat of colored goodness.” Runners sign up for all manner of reasons, but the biggest draw is the barrage of technicolor badges awarded at the end of each kilometer. By the end, racers look like grinning human abstracts of yellow, green, blue, purple and pink paint. The paint is “a special, ‘elf-made’ recipe of magical color dust,” and is perfectly safe; even to eat.

The Awesome Mitten-The Color Run
Photo courtesy of The Color Run

This is the Color Run’s first tour of the nation and responses have already been phenomenal, says Public Relations Representative Jackson Cozzens. Both the Grand Rapids and Ypsi events are sold out with upwards of 12,000 runners ready for “the happiest 5K on the planet.” It’s a hard flag to hold with so many themed runs sweeping the nation, but the evidence supports the colorful banner’s claim. Many cities are already lobbying to get on the roster for next year while 2012 continues in the south until December.

It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes the Color Run so exciting, but something about the multicolored 3.1 miles has got people buzzing. “It is something you truly have to witness for yourself,” says Cozzens. The Color Run made its debut in Phoenix, Arizona and has since painted major cities in Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, California, and others. It has also been featured in Self magazine as well as National Geographic. The positive energy is exemplified in the Color Run’s pledge to local charities in every city, so runners can feel good about their mission while having a fantastic time. Refreshments are provided after and during the race, and spectators are welcome to see their friends and family boldly anointed.

Awesome Mitten-The Color Run
Photo courtesy of The Color Run

The fun doesn’t end with the race either, as runners are invited to gather for the “finish festival” afterwards, which the site calls: “the best post-5K party on the PLANET. After the finish, participants are encouraged to stick around, get down, and see exactly how much COLOR their individual person can contain,” by throwing their celebratory color packet in one last vivid explosion.

Grand Rapids residents will see the white-garbed contestants line up near Calder Plaza and finish there as personal paintings, while Ypsi’s will begin on Cross Street at Depot Town with the headquarters in Riverside Park. Though race spots are now sold out in both cities, the event is certain to be a spectacle.

If you would like to join the crazy, colorful chaos, visit the Color Run’s website, Facebook, or Twitter for updates and to secure your spot for next year! Wanna see what it’s like in live action? Check out these videos!

~Samantha Stemler, feature writer