Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 8 a.m.
The Color Run [SLIDESHOW]
In just over a month, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds will attract the most colorful folks from all over the state during the Minnesota State Fair (and by "colorful" we mean in a socks-and-sandals/terrible ICP tattoos kind of way). This past weekend, however, a different type of colorful event took over the fairgrounds as the Color Run 5K made its first-ever appearance in the Twin Cities.
Billed as "The Happiest 5K on the Planet," the Color Run is a fun run where participants get decked out in their bright-white apparel only to be blasted with colored corn starch (or "elf dust," as the organizers call it) each kilometer. By the end, runners look like they've been beaten mercilessly by a box of Crayolas (Weirdest. Visual. Ever).
A crowd of nearly 20,000 showed up early Sunday morning to get color-blasted, including kids in wagons, people in wheelchairs, and one seriously bad-ass chick with a full walking cast wrapped up in a trash bag. The dress code for the event was strictly adhered to, and when you looked out into the crowd it was a sea of white cotton. Some folks chose to go basic in white t-shirts or tank tops. Others decided to go more extreme, as there were numerous white tutus, swim goggles, and bandannas as well. Sadly, not one single person showed up wearing a karate outfit, which really felt like a miss in the fashion department. (Next year, next year).
For being such a huge event, organizers did a great job of keeping things moving, with groups of 1,000 runners being released at a time. After a quick jog, we approached the first color station, where volunteers were literally covered head-to-toe with bright orange dust as they worked to mess up the pearly white mob coming towards them. Other color stations would be more of the same, with volunteers using everything from water bottles to buckets and their bare hands to color the crowd. Some participants decided to even take things one step further, by dropping and rolling through the streets, looking more and more like the victims of a rainbow massacre by the minute.
In case you weren't paying attention, the weather got really hot, really fast Sunday, which was the only damper on an otherwise stellar event. A sole water station about halfway through the run became the most popular spot on the grounds, which is probably something organizers will take into consideration for next year.
Despite the heat, spirits were still high as we approached the finish line. All participants had been given their very own color packets in their race bags, and were instructed to hold on to them for the big "color cloud" finale at the end. After crossing the finish, we headed into the Color Festival inside the Grandstand where the DJ counted down the minutes to the big toss. The result was one of the coolest visuals you'll ever see, with thousands of packets of powder mixing together high in the air, engulfing the masses with color.
As the dirty, colorful pack piled out of the fairgrounds and towards their cars, there were plenty of "WOOS!" being screamed out and camera phone pics being snapped, with seemingly everyone getting exactly what they bargained for: the happiest and most colorful 5K ever.
Oh, and the shower afterwards made my (and I assume, everyone else's) bathtub the most colorful tub on the planet.