Race Report: The Color Run
After much hype, The Color Run made it’s debut in the UK yesterday with its first run in London. The Color Run is hugely popular in the States and I was definitely excited to see it make it over to these shores. I was one of the first to sign up for it on the day registration opened. So, how was it?
Information emails were sent out in plenty of time with all the info needed laid out clearly. Slightly frustrating that there was no parking on site and no bag check. For a race where you end up covered in paint, you might want to freshen up afterwards (though it’s obviously part of the marketing plan to have paint-covered runners wandering all over the city when it’s over). The race had clearly been oversold and I’m not sure the organisers were really prepared for that many people. If you went to actually run, you’d have been a bit disappointed. We ended up walking most of the route simply because there were too many people. The race was due to start at 3pm, but we waited an hour before we crossed the start line. That was an hour in baking heat, with no one handing out water and no announcements from organisers saying what was going on. For the amount of people participating, there seemed to be remarkably few volunteers and people marshalling the race.
The car park of Wembley Stadium – easy to find and located right by the station. Most high profile London races would happen a bit more centrally, so this seemed a bit out of the way.
Pretty dire. You’re basically just going around an industrial estate. There’s nothing to look at, it’s not visually stimulating at all. At each kilometre mark, you go through a paint station where volunteers splash paint over you. In reality I counted on average only two volunteers at each station throwing paint, so most people were either lying on the ground and rolling around in it to get covered in colour or throwing it over each other. Each kilometre had a different colour, so in theory you’d be multicoloured at the end. Considering it was ‘The Color Run’, I thought it would’ve been cool if there was more colourful stimuli around the entire route, not just the kilomotre markers. For example, if at kilometre three, yellow paint was thrown, why not have that entire kilometre peppered with yellow things; yellow balloons strung up, yellow ticker tape, a drummer group dressed head to tow in yellow – I don’t know, just something, anything to bring a bit of flavour and excitement to it.
There weren’t any, but that’s kind of understandable – it’s a bit of a messy race. If your friends don’t want to be covered in paint dust, they most likely won’t be cheering you on in this one.
On Route Drinks and Snacks
Evidently none of the organisers of The Color Run bothered to check the weather report before Sunday. It was hot. Real hot. We were kept waiting over an hour in the baking heat, with no shade and no water was passed out by organisers. The one drinks station on the route looked like some sort of refugee camp. Again, there weren’t enough volunteers manning it. Considering the heat, everyone wanted to stop for a drink. They had huge buckets of water and the volunteers would scoop out one cup of water for you. Why they didn’t just have bottles of water to pass out is beyond me. Everyone would’ve been able to move through that section much more easily.
Official T Shirt
That is basically what your £30 entry fee paid for in this race. It’s a good T Shirt. I would wear mine again.
There wasn’t one.
Post Race Organisation
Once again, not enough volunteers or signage anywhere to let you know where to go, where things were, how to get out.
As a general note, it was a fun event and I get that it’s billed as ‘The Happiest 5K on the Planet’, it’s not meant to be a serious race. However, I don’t think that’s an excuse to skimp on the basics. For the £30 entry fee, it seems the organisers did the absolute bare minimum. No bag check. not enough water, not enough volunteers – all very easily fixable things. As this was the first race in the UK, I think it’s fair to say this was a bit of a ‘dry run’. As these races are so successful in the States, I’m sure they have the flow of things much more down there and if they continue on with the race here next year, hopefully the kinks will be ironed out.
It was a fun race, I had fun with my friends, but it could’ve and should’ve been a lot better.