The Color Run, also known as the “happiest 5k on the planet,” made a vibrant stop in Baltimore on Nov. 15. Not surprisingly, the run was graced with some Viking pride, as Mt. Hebron students and their friends participated in the event.
Senior Breanna Shirtliff had never run in the famous 5k before, but she enjoyed her experience this year. “It surpassed my expectations,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Although many Vikings had heard about the event, most agree that expectations are nothing compared to reality.
“It was a lot more fun,” said senior Drew Chadwick. “There was a huge dance party at the end.”
Unlike other 5k races, the Color Run has what they call a Finish Festival. The festival occurs at the end of the race, in which the chromatic runners release their energy in a “larger than life party.” The party has music, dancing and “color throws” with packets of colored cornstarch that are distributed to the runners at registration.
“You get your own packets of color and throw them into the air,” Shirtliff said, regarding the color throws. “It happened about every fifteen minutes.”
The festivities not only lift spirits, but also aid the runners during the 5k.
“[The party] gave us something to look forward to,” Chadwick said.
The light-hearted attitude promoted by the Color Run can be seen as runners are doused with varying colors after every kilometer they run. To add to the east-going atmosphere, the 5k is not timed.
“Anyone can do it,” said senior Mahtub Ahmadi, whose sister participated in the event held at Camden Yards last year. “Kids, adults, anyone.”
The Color Run attracts many first-timers, as it gains popularity every year. However, after participating, many of these runners wish to go again. Both Shirtliff and Chadwick plan on running in the event again in April of next year, when the Color Run returns to Maryland. Others who have yet to participate are eager to become Color Runners as well.
Senior and student athlete Maddie Bennett wants to work up to running in the race next spring. “For now, I’m doing the Turkey Trot,” Bennett said, referring to the upcoming Thanksgiving 5k.
Even those who are less keen to run the 3.1 miles of a 5k can attest to the Color Run’s appeal.
“If I had to do a 5k again, I would do the Color Run,” said senior Maya Huber, who ran the race last year. “As far as 5ks go, it was fun.”
The Color Run attracts all types of Vikings and can even be a spectator sport for some. Senior Allie Beall works at the Baltimore Aquarium and drove by the event while it was occurring.
“I had seen pictures [of the Color Run] before. I figured it would be that big,” Beall said. What she did not expect was the magnitude of spirit. “It was intense,” she said.
Huber agrees that the spirit of the crowd was overwhelming. “[It was] a lot of controlled chaos,” she said, recalling her experience last year.
Although crowd antics are part of the excitement, some feats came as a pleasant surprise. Shirtliff even saw a runner decked out in a unicorn costume.
The Color Run comes with only two rules: wear white to the starting line and finish in vibrant color. Huber said the color splashing was not exaggerated, and the proof lay in the before-and-after pictures she took.
“I went from normal human being to Jersey shore. I was so orange,” Huber said. Her color-dousing experience only intensified when it started to rain. The 5k veteran said the color powder transformed into colored rain water in no time.
Senior Evan Winter, whose parents attended the event, said he was surprised with their pictures and how they had “paint everywhere.”
Beall’s cousins have participated in the run, and she says she wishes to run in the future as well. However, she may wait to register until she is college-aged. “I think it would be more fun in college,” Beall said. “It appeals more to that age group.”
When asked if anyone should not be able to participate, Shirtliff said, “Not small kids. It should be from age 10 and up.”
Whether there are any downfalls to the event, none of this year’s participants know. But Shirtliff does advise runners to bring something to cover their mouths so they can avoid breathing in the color powder.
With the 5k becoming larger, now with over 170 events, Vikings have taken an interest. Should Hebron try its hand at having its own Color Run-like 5k? Chadwick says yes.
“Absolutely,” Shirtliff agreed, “if we could include our own festivities. I’m sure lots of people would participate. We could also use that as a way to do fundraising for the school.”
“It could be cool, and all the colors could be black and yellow,” Beall added.
Whether Vikings are student athletes, spectators, runners or relatives of runners, one thing is clear: the Color Run has made quite the impression on Mt. Hebron.