Color Me Rad 5K: Race Review

The Color Me Rad 5K race was very different from what I expected. The folks who run this race get an A+ for marketing and an F for execution. I would never run this race again. Here’s why:

Registration and Race Kit Pick-Up: Online registration was easy and quick. If you were running with a team, you could register everyone at once which was great. Pick-Up was the Thursday and Friday before the race at the Sheraton Centre downtown. Race kits included a blue t-shirt, race bib,  a can of Red Bull, and a pair of sunglasses. Called “The only race shirt you’ll ever need”, the blue race shirt was indeed useless on race day. To fully experience the color bombing at the race, you had to wear white which meant you could buy another race shirt from Color Me Rad for an additional $15 or wear your own white shirt. This was clearly a money grab as they should have just made the original race shirt white.

Digital Hype: Color Me Rad has a great Facebook page, but their Twitter is definitely lacking.  There was ZERO interaction from their @colormerad5k Twitter account on race day. Very odd considering the target audience for this race is young and digital saavy. Tons of people were sharing pics on Twitter and Instagram using the #colormerad hashtag, but there was no interaction from their official account. Maybe their Twitter person took the weekend off?

Getting to the Race: Very easy. Color Me Rad offered a free shuttle bus to and from Downsview Park from Downsview subway station. I really liked this service.

Color Me RadCourse: Having run (boring) races at Downsview Park before, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular in terms of the actual layout of the course, but I was expecting big things in terms of entertainment along the course. From all the photos and videos, Color Me Rad comes off as a high-energy, exciting race with color bombs coming at you from everywhere and enthusiastic volunteers and staff cheering you on. Well, there was none of that. We must have run at least 1 and a half kilometres until we got to our first “color station” where volunteers sprayed us with something that more closely resembled urine than yellow dye. It was such a let down. I wish I had taken my phone with me so I could have filmed the action not happening at the station. After that we came across a color bombing station around 2k where you basically had to stop and stand in front of a volunteer so they could unenthusiastically throw a color bomb at you. It was not fun. Of course as you got closer to the finish line, things picked up a bit because pictures were being taken, but to be honest I have no desire to run through bombs of colored corn starch ever again.

Finish Line and Medals: After we crossed the finish line, we came across mostly empty tables of dirty water. The water tables were set up so close to the finish line that most of the water we saw was blue from the color bomb debris that had landed in it. Yuck. When we finally found some clear water, it was really thick and tasted funny, obviously due to the color bomb corn starch that was in it. Along with the dirty water, we were also offered some mini Larabars. After that, we stood in line for about 20 minutes to have our official finish line photos taken.imagejpeg_2

Would I run this race again? No. Not a chance. This race was all about the hype, and nothing about the experience. I understand that this is a “fun run”, and I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but the actual race experience was so far from what I expected, that I felt really let down and cheated by the race organizers.

If you’re used to high-quality, well-run races, then this isn’t for you. You’ll be very disappointed and sorry that you wasted your money. If you’re looking to run through some colored corn starch thrown at you every kilometre by unenthusiastic volunteers, then go for it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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