Back in July, I was given an entry into The Color Run Memphis and last weekend is when that event was held. This is my first time to run in The Color Run or any of the color themed races that have become all the rage over the past couple of years. I was registered for last year’s Color Run in Memphis, but a scheduling conflict caused me to miss the event.
The Memphis event was held at Tiger Lane which is the tailgating area adjacent to the Liberty Bowl. It was a colder than expected morning, so I opted to wear my hoodie under my shirt. Of course, I did not make this determination until after I arrived at the event. I did not wear my Nike+ watch because I did not want it to be destroyed in the color stations, and since this was a untimed event, I have no clue how fast I completed the run. The event is a 5K with four color stations throughout the race. At each color station, you are covered with dyed corn starch. After the race is over, you can go to the festival area for the Finish Festival, which is several runners throwing their color packets into the air. This phenomenon leads to a gigantic cloud that you cannot see through. The colors tend to blend together and the entire cloud ends up being black in color. Most people come out of the cloud with color on their teeth and coughing a little bit. The cloud and my asthma did not get along very well. At the start of the race, everyone meets in the festival area where the MC/DJ hypes the crowd, gives out promotional items, and the crowd does some warmups. When it was time to start, everyone participated in a giant conga line to the starting corral. In the corral, there was more music, hyping, and swag giveaways. With 5,000 runners, the wise choice of staggering the start was made, so every few minutes another group of runners were sent off. And despite this being an untimed event, participants were still encouraged to run on the left and walk on the right, which was appreciated.
The race seems to be geared more to first time and non-competitive runners, which I am certain helps with participation. The vast majority of the music played was not my preference (think Miley Cyrus and Pink), but several of the participants seemed to enjoy it. The event is geared much more to group participation and people into the poppy genre of music and entertainment. I ran into a friend from high school and his wife, and she absolutely loved the event. She went to the Finish Festival multiple times and I am certain that she will participate again.
Course: A: It was a great 5K course, closely mimicking the Stars and Stripes 5K from July. The color stations were spaced far enough apart to avoid bottlenecking, and they had an aid station as well.
Swag: B: All runners were given a t-shirt, temporary tattoos, color packets, and a headband. At the event, backpack, fanny packs, sunglasses, beach balls, and socks were given out to random race participants. I will say that this year’s shirt was much better than last year’s, both in looks and comfort. In fact, since the shirt was so much better this year, I decided to wear last year’s event shirt so if I wanted to toss it after the event, I could. On the course, bottled water was handed out, which was smart with all the color flying around. At the end of the race, KIND bars were handed out.
Overall: B+: The event is well-organized and has a very positive atmosphere. Participant enjoyment is very important to the organizers. This is an amazing event for a first time runner or someone wanting a race free from worrying about pace. Several people had iPhones or GPS watches with them, but I would not recommend carrying these items during the run unless you want them covered with color.
I would probably run this event again, but only if it was with a group of other runners.
I was given this entry into The Color Run, but this in no way influenced my review or enjoyment of the race. Honestly, if I were not given the entry to the event, I was going to register for it anyway.