Running Column

In living color

How one race organizer is defining a 5K race
By Aaron Mabry | Feb 11, 2014
Photo by: File Aaron Mabry

Is it just me, or is every 5K race an exercise in monotony?
I mean honestly. You train for months, you pay your fee, pick up your goody pack at registration and away you go only to find yourself 20 minutes later at the finish line with a Dixie cup full of oversaturated Gatorade from mix and a stale chocolate chip cookie.
And though I realize that running, for those who take it seriously, is about more than an itchy, oversized race t-shirt, it does beg the question of why all of these races seem to follow the same mind-numbing template. It’s comparable to starving yourself for 23.5 hours a day, only to eat oatmeal seven days a week.
Thankfully, a national organization is serving up a medium rare filet mignon and kicking it up a notch on July 26 by bringing the world renowned Color Run to Asheville, which is touted as the “Happiest 5K on the Planet.”
The Color Run was founded in January of 2012 as an event to promote health and happiness, only to develop into the single largest event series in the United States, hosting more than 170 events in 30-plus countries last year.
So what can you expect? It’s really quite simple. You start the race wearing all white, and you finish plastered from head to toe by good ole ROY G. BIV (that’s some first class elementary education). Between the start and finish lines, runners make their way through what the race coins as color zones where their “certified” color throwers douse you in 100 percent cornstarch colored powder. What’s more is that the race is untimed, and participants are encouraged to run, walk, crawl or cartwheel.
Essentially, it’s one massive party disguised as a race, a term used loosely in this sense. And contrary to most post race festivities that feature free Michelob Ultra and a slew of health conscious vendor booths,
The Color Run finishes with a concert style ‘Epic Finish Festival” where both participants and onlookers come together with music, dancing, and of course, more colored powder.
At any rate, if you’ve always dreamed of running through a tie die cloud of dust wearing fishnet gloves, tube socks and a pink tutu, as I always have, this is undeniably your chance to see it through.
So regardless of whether you’re a serious runner, or someone simply looking for a fun experience, do yourself a favor and enter The Color Run. Individual entries are $40.00, but those running as a team will only pay $25.00. You can also visit for more information and find answers to any questions you may have in their Q&A section. The race will also support the YMCA of Asheville, as well as The Color Runs national charities.
Suffice to say, philanthropy has never been this fun.