Rochester Color Run
When I first published my Rochester Bucket List I received a few comments, mainly along the lines of why Rochester? After last year’s 3 month Europe tour, quiet and unassuming Rochester in upstate New York didn’t quite fit the profile. So – what made me choose Rochester? The Color Run. After having so much fun on the New England Color Run last year, I was looking for a repeat performance. I came to Rochester for the run, but quickly discovered there was so much more to the region. (More to come in a future post.)
This year’s color run was a little different from the New England edition. First off, the attendance, while still impressive, was nearly half. Six thousand runners took the start line compared to last year’s first day 11,000 runner record. This year I travelled solo – I felt rather alone amongst the groups of people whose excitement and chatter bubbled over. Luckily, the atmosphere was electric and the energy infectious….it didn’t take long before I was part of the crowd, chatting with my fellow runners and enjoying the party.
The other difference this year – Hollywood. Spiderman filming had taken over downtown Rochester and the impact of the film set was felt throughout town. Every few minutes, we were reminded not to explode our color packets on the run…apparently Spiderman likes clean streets when fighting crime! In spite of the Spiderman factor, there was no shortage of colour at each colour station and billows of bright powder exploded in the air as the runners passed each kilometer marker!
It’s funny how different people perceive fun. I had a riot on my second color run and know that I will do a third, picking another city to explore next year. When I crossed the border from Canada into the US, I was met by a stern border crossing agent who really didn’t get me! I tried to explain why I was traveling to the States, explaining the premise of the color run. I explained that it was the most fun way to do a 5K run with people literally painting you at every kilometer marker….he didn’t even break a smile. I am not sure if he thought I was certifiably nuts or if he was just busting my chops. When I came back into Canada, I once again explained the purpose of my visit to Rochester. The agent asked me a few questions before breaking into a smile – apparently the colour run is coming to town and he knew people who were planning on running. I guess I am not so much of a nut bar after all!
So, what is it about the colour run that I enjoy so much that I endure the scrutiny of border guards who are questioning my sanity?
Besides the obvious fun of running 5K with volunteers literally painting you as you run the course:
- everyone is so happy – this is a no stress fun run! No one is watching the clock. There is no clock…just a crazy after party with color clouds erupting into the sky.
- participation ranges from serious runners to people like me – I may only run once a year, it has got to be unique and it absolutely must be fun.
- anyone can do 5K. Lots of people ran the run, but there were just as many people who walked it. Surprisingly, I ran more than I thought, timing my walk breaks with the color stations for maximum color infusion!
- the color run supports a great cause….and Rochester supported Kids Living with Cancer. Not only was money raised to support this charity, but there was a group of kids who were living with cancer who participated in the run. They were inspirational as they took the stage at the after party.
- the afterparty – watching everyone come in, faces flush with excitement and paint and the dance party in the middle of the day! The organizers sure know how to tie one on!
The popularity of the color run looks to be on the rise. It has grown to include more countries and they are adding more destinations all the time. Think you want to run this 5K? Check the color run website for dates, locations and more information for a run near you.
The runs came about because the founder, Travis Snyder, wanted to create an event that would encourage more people to get out and run. He has created a unique running experience and I believe he has lived up to what he promotes – the happiest 5K on the planet. I’ll be back in 2014 – what about you? Will you be getting painted and sweating rainbows?