Race Report: The Color Run

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?

Race Organisation

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.

Starting Location

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.

13 Responses to “Race Report: The Color Run”
  1. Andrea says:

    Wow, that sounds like a bit of a disaster! I’m shocked at the lack of water, good thing it was only a short race or they would have had a lot of dehydrated people.

  2. I was gutted to miss this as was doing Race for Life in Southampton with some workmates but having read this and seen feedback from others that said the same, it sounds like it might not be such a shame to miss out this time round and wait until they’ve ironed out the kinks.

    Think a lot of races yesterday suffered with lack of water stops, R4L were caught with their pants down and it definitely wasn’t as well organised as in previous years!

  3. Jojo says:

    Pretty much echoes my experience of the first Colour Run here in Sydney in February – definitely not a race where you actually race! But fun nonetheless. We ran in 30 degrees that day (at 9am) – there was one drink station on route also with too few volunteers, and a bottle of water at the end. I was thirsty to say the least!

  4. Caitlin says:

    This sounds like a disaster. Considering how much they charge for these races, you’d think they’d be a little better organized.

    I’m not at all interested in these novelty races. I’m happy that they get other people out on the streets and doing something, but the gimmicks annoy me. I’m actually starting to see ads for a flavor 5K – https://flavorrun.webconnex.com/RegisterOnline – and I can only imagine a sea of people puking and coughing because they accidentally inhaled some flavored powder while trying to run. And they are charging US$48 for the privilege too….*shaking my head* I’ll stick with the basic low-key 5K with the $15 race fee, thanks.

  5. Tammela says:

    At first I wished I’d been in London for this…but after reading your review, I’m sort of glad I wasn’t. That’s too bad about the organization and choice of race location. Hopefully they’ll try to do another one and will recruit more help next time.

  6. Alli Marshall says:

    Now I’m glad I didn’t sign up to do this with my Son & Daughter.

    £90 wouldn’t have been well spent from the sound of things.

  7. nicsnotebook says:

    Awww im doing the Manchester one on Sunday! I even started running training for it, ran 6k today for first time ever. Quite disappointed that I might not be able to use my new running fitness to run the whole 5k. And disappointing about the lack of colour!

  8. Kate says:

    I had a very similar experience in Australia – the colour stations were underwhelming and you pretty much had to line up to have a little colour splashed over you. Was a novelty, but not sure I’d do it again. Was missing the vibe that I expected.

  9. Laura says:

    I also did this on Sunday and was nodding my head in agreement while reading your review – for me though, having done the “British 10k” in the morning which was even more diabolically organised, my afternoon at the Color Run with my kids (4 and 6) was a welcome respite! I think it should be marketed more as a “Fun Run” to save disappointment and, like you say, more thought put into the theme around the course.

    Will I do it again? Probably! The kids want Daddy to join in as well next year and my son proclaimed “it was the most amazing day of his life” so they must have done something right!!!


  10. Lotte says:

    Yup. It was absolutelt exactly the same thing here in The Netherlands last month, including the heat, the long wait, the lack of water, the industrial area and the walking crowds. And might I add the huge amount of plastic used as well: shirts, paint, pins, free magazines, etc. were all wrapped in plastic, which was of course disposed off by everyone straight away. Afterwards, the area looked like a plasic dumpsite. Not such a happy 5k for the environment, I’d say. I did have a nice day and I enjoyed the whole getting-covered-in-paint-thing, but the event itself was a disappointment. Just an easy way for the organisation to make a lot of money and create an extra mountain of plastic trash. Such a shame.

  11. Kassia says:

    That’s such as shame! I wanted to do it but when I factored in running with two kids, train fares, spending money and not being in a central London location for afterwards with my girls it just became to expensive. I’m glad now I didn’t do but hopefully they’ll improve things next year.

  12. aa says:

    I wish i read this before signing up for 2016 race. I am not even there yet and being treated so badly i wish i never heard of them. they know how to charge alright, but you get nothing back. so many mistakes so many messing, and they leave you to chase them and do the hard work yourself….. avoid at all cost!!!! money spinner on a massive scale.

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