The Colour Run: Adventures in Technicolor

By Andrea Lie

1What's better than signing up for a race with your children to promote healthy living and spend quality time with them? Doing it with a splash of colour, a rocking dance party and some fantastic photo opportunities!

The Colour Run was in Ottawa for the first time this past Sunday at the Canadian Tire Centre. It's a 5K route with colour stations along the way. You start off wearing white and finish covered with colour from head to toe. It is billed as the “Happiest 5K on the planet”! My daughter (8) and I had the pleasure of participating together.

On the morning of the event, I will have to admit, I was nervous. I have never run in a race but my daughter has. I greatly admire runners who actively compete in races and train up to the big date. The website specifically said it was for runners of all abilities so we pushed forward. Besides, it looked like a lot of fun!

To my delight, parking was free! We headed to the check-in table and collected our packages which included white t-shirts, race bibs, white headbands and tattoos. We were ready to race and lined up with the masses.

My running anxiety eased when I noticed the runners were starting in waves. There really were no winners. While in line an emcee had us exercise, stretch, dance and cheer for prizes. I was standing beside an awesomely cool Dad in a tutu that matched his daughters, behind a little 3-year-old in a t-shirt that nearly touched her shoes and in front of two moms with children in jogging strollers.

We left in wave number 9 and headed for the first colour station about one kilometre away. When we arrived we ran through a cloud of pink and were squirted with the powder for extra measure. There were even runners rolling in the colour!

1-2We continued on the rest of the 5K passing through a purple, yellow and orange station with a water station at the halfway mark. There were moms pulling wagons, kids on shoulders and those who chose to walk the entire way. This race really was for anyone and everyone.

It felt great to cross the finish line with my girl. We were given water, an energy bar (with nuts) and colour packs for the dance party!

1-3To the left of the finish line was a place to dance and throw your own colour. It was led by an energetic crew with dance music and a countdown to launch the colour packets.

The Colour Run website has a great FAQ section. I have a few tips of my own pertaining to bringing children to this event.

Tip #1 - The race can be left if need be.

I was considering bringing my 5-year-old but he is hot and cold with these kinds of things. I imagined myself 3 kilometres out only to have him put on the brakes. Because the route weaves in an around the parking lot, there were many places he could have been handed off to my husband on the sidelines.

Tip #2 - The facilities are portable toilets.

Not always an issue but it is for some little ones. Or maybe just mine. They were perfectly clean and acceptable, don't get me wrong! There may have been facilities open inside but I didn't try.

Tip #3 - Accessorize with bright colour!

My daughter wishes we had joined the ranks of tutus, rainbow stockings and coloured hair. We'll be prepared next year!

Tip #4 - Healthier options.

There is a food truck at the finish line that offers some healthier options. Nothing prevents you from packing your own goods too!

Tip #5 - Bring old towels.

While you can line up to have the colour blown off your clothes for the ride home, my daughter didn't want to. Instead, we brought old towels to cover the seats of the van.

Tip #6 - Save the colour.

The colour came out of my daughter's shirt much to her dismay. I should have done the ironing tip they suggested.

1-1It's safe to say we'll be doing this running party again next year with the family. I think we'll even try to get a team together and make a morning of it. I'm personally using this event as a kick-start to running!