Colour runs have become all the rage, popping up across North America. It was only a matter of time before it came to town. The inaugural event from Run Waterloo raising money for Big Brothers and Sisters was called In Running Colour.
Saturday at Columbia Lake and it’s picture perfect. Clear skies, light breeze, no humidity. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. We’re here in part because K had, at the beginning of summer, penned a summer bucket list of things she wanted to do over the break. Bowling, shopping in Toronto, movie all-nighter sort of thing. With school looming ever closer we checked the list to see what’s left and find paint fight. Not sure how she planned on accomplishing that, but In Running Colour fit the bill, saved ourselves a potential mess at home and got me out to my first Run Waterloo race with K and her friend.
So I’m armed with a bag of pigment wandering the field chucking purple at complete strangers. With colour in hand I was looking for others holding yellow, pink, blue or green hoping for some reciprocal colour. Tiny puffs of paint dotted the field as participants strategically slapped some tentative colour on themselves. Tinting hair, speckling their shoulders. Volunteers armed with water were spritzing attendants in an effort to hold the pigment.
At 10:00 they kicked off the first heat. We were part of the second and pushed through the starting gate to make our 4k fun run around Columbia Lake. People ambled along, power walked, and strolled. Completely un-timed it was a casual affair, a perfect introduction to what a timed race could be like. An ideal way to set the hook.
People chatted amicably, admiring their artistically paint-flecked shirts. All that changed by the first colour station. Scattered throughout the course, the colour stations were populated with volunteers heaping handfuls of the coloured cornstarch at the ready to pelt passing participants. From a distance you could only see an opaque cloud of pink, the sidewalk completely covered as runners ran through the first colour station. By the end of the race we’d hit green, blue, yellow and purple and doused ourselves in paint. I myself had thrown and been on the receiving end of so much paint it looked like I had Gargamelled a platoon of Smurfs and I still found green pigment in my ears by evening …don’t even ask about blowing my nose.
Check out the photo page and you’ll find a collection of blissed-out, ecstatic faces surrounded by a riot of colour. Racers may sniff at such an unstructured race but this is how you get people out for potential future, timed runs. What a blast.