On Saturday, I participated in the first Color Run here in Huntsville. So how was it?
To start with, it wasn’t actually much of a run – more like The Color Walk with 6000 of Your Closest Friends and Neighbors. Huntsville has a large running community, but this was a massive event compared to what I normally see. The only other event that I know of with that many runners is Cotton Row at Memorial Day. The upside of that is that they were actually prepared because of how all the other local races are handled. The run took place on the certified downtown 5k course, which gave everyone plenty of room to spread out. There is an open lot where all of the pre- and post-race activities went on – registration, check in, vendors, etc. There were also a few dozen portapotties lined up at the start/finish.
The run started at 900, but we got there just after 800 to make sure we were in the first wave start. I have a friend who started towards the end who said they were still on the course by about 920. A very good thing about Huntsville, as compared to some other cities, is that there is no shuttle to the race start. We parked at First Baptist and walked over, but had I been by myself I probably would have used the parking structure at the new publix. We had all checked in the day before, so all we had to do was head to the start line and take pictures.
The dj was hyping up the crowd at the start line and throwing out a bunch of free swag, but we were just too far back to catch anything. Protip – don’t stand by the speakers. Trust me on that one, and just squeeze out of the way. One the run started, it was very relaxed compared to the starting corral. Everyone spread out and the runners had plenty of room to pass. The color stations were well staffed and the colorers would shoot you with more or less as you requested. I’ve read recaps of people getting the powder in their faces, but I didn’t have any problem. It was dusty breathing through the station, but it cleared up as soon as you passed. The course itself is wide and fairly flat with some rolling hills, and it was a beautiful day, so we had a good time even between the stations. The houses are gorgeous to look at, and a lot of residents sit on their porches and cheer the runners on (see above, this is a great running town). There was a water station half way through, and another at the end, where they were also handing out kind bars. Again, had I been by myself, I would have run at least intervals, but my friends are dedicated walkers. We finished in 1 hr 3 minutes per my phone – there is no official timing of any kind, so you have to track your own.
At the finish, they hand out color packets and encourage you to go up to the stage for color throws. Don’t be like me and accept a white packet – get one of the pretty ones. We took a few more photos and then headed out before the day got too hot. They had a tent with guys with leaf blowers to knock the powder off you before you left, but it didn’t do much good. I had a pack of baby wipes and a change of clothes in the car, so I cleaned up as best I could to avoid colored powder all over the car. I would have been prepared with a seat cover if the morning had gone as planned, but life happens.
When I got home, I went directly to the laundry room and both my race and my drive home clothes got washed immediately. The color powder sticks wherever you sweat and stains your skin, but my clothes came pretty clean. The band on my sports bra is a little pink and my race shirt has yellow armpits, but everything else washed out. I also went from laundry room to shower and scrubbed myself down as best I could. Again, I had a blue line around my belly and some streaks stained in my legs, but not bad. Everything scrubbed clean by Monday morning. I’ve heard of some people having trouble getting color out of their hair (and hence the tip to coat your hair with leave-in conditioner before the race), but I didn’t have any problem.
Overall, we had a good time, but it was not a race in any sense of the word. It’s a fun experience and a very low-pressure introduction to 5ks. If you go, go full out and dress up and do all the wacky Color Run things because it is a super social event. But if you are looking for a sporting event, this is not the run for you. I enjoyed it, but now that I’ve done it once, it’s not something I would do again.
I’m still counting it towards my goal of finishing three 5ks this year though. My next race will probably be Spooktacular in October on the same course, so back to training. C25k w2 d3, here I come.