The Color Run vs. Color Vibe

It’s time for the results of our good-natured color throwdown!

Remember back in the spring when we told you I would run several color-themed 5k races in western New York this summer? Ah yes, we’re going back a few months.

The Color Run and Color Vibe both graciously offered me entries to run each event. Although the color was theirs, all opinions are my own.

I enjoyed both events, but let me say its rather tricky to compare two colorful 5k races that I ran in different cities and in different weather conditions.

You may recall that when I ran the Color Vibe back in April, the sky opened up on the runners. It hailed, it snowed and it was darn windy. As a result, few stuck around for the after party. (Was there one? I don’t actually know.)

after4yes, that’s snow (Color Vibe)

Last weekend, I headed to Buffalo, NY with my friend and colleague Tina for The Color Run and Tina’s first-ever 5k.

I blogged specifically about Saturday’s race on my work blog. (Click HERE to read)

tina blueThe blue color zone along Lake Erie (The Color Run)

So let’s try a comparison breakdown of the two races:


Both events touted thousands of runners (8,000 or so for the Color Vibe and 10,000 for The Color Run, according to race organizers.) Both figures seemed a bit inflated, but I’d certainly agree that thousands of people took part in each event. Let’s just say both races were crowded, but it was never overwhelming. Race organizers knew how to move the crowd.

At the Color Vibe, the first group of runners didn’t begin until about 10-15 minutes after the appointed race start time, which on a normal day wasn’t a big deal. But the temps had dropped to the 30s and the skies were dark, Plus there was confusion about the start time, so we actually waited about 45 minutes for the race to begin.

colorfunLindsay, Deb and Charlotte running through campus (Color Vibe)

In comparison, The Color Run started at its appointed start time, though it took Tina and me an extra 20 or so minutes to reach the start area after the the first runners set off. (We actually watched the first folks finish!)

waldoA sea of white shirts. Can you spot me? (The Color Run)

Round 1 goes to The Color Run

Color Zones: At both races, we ran through four color zones.

Color Vibe participants were doused with color packets right out of the gate. I loved that idea – get runners with a burst of color right from the start! Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready for it, so I basically missed the first of four color zones. (My fault, not theirs.)

pinkThink pink! (The Color Run)

The Color Run seemed to have more volunteers throwing powered color on participants, so it was hard for anyone to get past a zone without a hint of color.

That said, in any color race, ASK the throwers to hit you with color if you want to be covered. They will oblige.

If you want minimal color, try to zip past and dodge the throwers. Stay in the middle, where other runners act as a color buffer.

Round 2 is a draw

The course: Obviously this will vary greatly from race to race. My suggestion for all future color event participants is to pay attention to the 3.1-mile course you will be running.

The Color Vibe was entirely housed on the campus of a local community college. It’s a smart move because its self-contained and doesn’t require race organizers to close roads and divert traffic. That said, the route includes a large amount of parking lots… which also means less event parking.

The Color Run’s route was a refreshing surprise to me. You guessed it, I didn’t check out the course before the event because I knew I’d be walking much of it. The 5k course started in Buffalo’s Canalside Park, next to the First Niagara Center and followed some downtown roads and lakeside roads, into a marina along Lake Erie and back.

colorrun2Along Lake Erie (The Color Run)

Because of its location, The Color Run route seemed far more picturesque.

Round 3 winner: The Color Run

Race swag: Entry to the two races are pretty much the same. $45 for the Color Vibe and $50 for The Color Run.

With the Color Vibe entry, I received a race shirt (which I wore for the run), one color packet, sunglasses and Boston bracelets, a thoughtful gesture by race organizers as we ran several days after the Boston Marathon bombings.

The Color Run entry included a race shirt (again, I wore it), a race headband, a color packet and some stickers.

Both events sold a number of other products. The Color Run organizers repeatedly threw swag such as race socks and bags into the crowd.

Round 4 winner: Color Vibe

After party: Both events hosted pre-race and post-race parties, which included music, dancing and a celebratory atmosphere.

Because of the wintry weather at the Color Vibe, most participants ran for their cars and shelter after finishing the course. Few people stuck around to sing and dance in the snow and hail. (Gee? Why?) and most volunteers apparently abandoned their post-race posts. I heard there was a photo booth, but never found it. I spotted bottles of water in a pile, though no one was handing them out.

I never saw a big-post race color throw take place by the stage. Instead, participants doused each other with packets of color at or near the finish line. We still had fun, but couldn’t help but wonder if I’d missed something.

after2Our own color throw (Color Vibe)

The Color Run’s after-party was a huge event. The weather was perfect, thousands of people danced to the music and we watched three separate color tosses take place in the 30 minutes after we finished our race.

20130820-143026.jpgA color throw at the Buffalo after-party (The Color Run)

Volunteers passed out Kind bars and offered a water bottle for thirsty runners.

Round 5 winner: The Color Run

colorizedI’m an oompaloompa (The Color Run)

Both events were a blast, though different. All of my running partners were a joy! And I love how color events are untimed races, geared toward beginners. The events aren’t about winning, but the joy of running.

But overall, the top winner was THE COLOR RUN. Congrats to the Happiest 5K on the Planet!

What Color event is your top choice? What stood out to you to make that event better than its competitors? Tell us in the comments!

The Color Run – We’ve got the hook up!


Hey Scooters! We’ve got an awesome opportunity for those of you wanting to check out The Color Run (that’s all of you, of course). The Color Run, aka the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness, individuality and giving back to the community. Each kilometer participants are doused from head to toe in different colors, painting a kaleidoscopic array all over your entire being. As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, these runs are a great way to let loose, have fun with friends and get painted with color!


The lovely folks at The Color Run were kind enough to hook up our readers with some incentives. Holla!

Firstly, we’ve got promo codes for $5 off of registration at four, yes FOUR, locations. We picked these locations all over the country so that hopefully you’ll be near one of the sites listed. If you’re not, why not plan a road trip to visit a friend or family in the area?

Grandma lives in Columbus? Grandma can take part too! (Honestly, who can resist the post-race Color Festival? Not Grandma, that is for sure.)


Anyway, what we’re trying to say is feel free to share the codes on Twitter, Facebook, by carrier pigeon or where ever your heart desires. The more, the merrier!

  • August 31, 2013 event in Englishtown, NJ – use the code: COLORSCOOT1
  • June 29, 2013 event in Pomona, CA – use the code: COLORSCOOT2
  • October 19, 2013 event in Charlotte, NC – use the code: COLORSCOOT3
  • July 20, 2013 event in Columbus, OH – use the code: COLORSCOOT4

A couple of things about the codes that you should keep in mind:

– The promo code will take $5 off your registration fee. The codes are race specific so make sure you snag the right one. If you sign up as a group (that’s a “Team” opposed to an “Individual” during registration) you’ll get an additional $5 off.

– Remember that even if you’ve got a promo code, it doesn’t guarantee a spot in the race. These races fill up quickly, due to the sheer awesomeness, so if you’re planning on joining in the fun, make sure to register ASAP.

Additionally, and super amazingly, The Color Run also provided us with a free race entry to one of their events! Enter the giveaway and if you’re the lucky winner, you get your pick of The Color Run locations (so long as it isn’t sold out – take a look-see at the list of locations).
Click the pic to enter

Click the pic to enter

*This giveaway is for one entry to any Color Run event that is not sold out. Once the winner has been chosen, we will share your name and email address with the folks at The Color Run to get you set up with your run of choice. We have not been compensated for this post although The Color Run provided the colorful pictures.

The Color Kinda-Run

Here’s a confession: running is not always fun for me. In fact, a lot (okay, FINE, most) of the time I consider it work. Sure, I love that it makes me feel strong and healthy and accomplished. But it also makes me feel sweaty and wheezy and tired.

So why do I do it? Aside from the whole good-for-you thing, which is admittedly pretty important, I love that so many of my friends run, too.  It’s the reason I got into it in the first place, proving that, yes, I’d jump if everyone else did. Sorry, Mom.

And what’s so great about having so many runner friends, you ask? It means that we make plans to run awesome races together. It means traveling to other cities and states to run said awesome races together. But best of all, it means that they travel to MY city to run said awesome races with ME. I hate to fly, so this is understandably my favorite scenario, one that happened last July when Chicks Meri and Cam flew to the City by the Bay to run the happiest race on the planet.

Yes, that’s right. A happy race! And not just any happy race, The Color Run!  Doesn’t it just sound so fun? Because it was. So. Fun.

This is the gist: the 5K race douses runners with a splash of colored corn starch at every kilometer, so that by the time you cross the finish line you look like a super-colorful Rorschach. The race is untimed, so there’s no talk of personal records or “hey, I beat you by 0.05 seconds, suck it.” The point of The Color Run is simply to enjoy, get colored up, then party it up after you cross the finish line. This was our mission and we accepted.

Hey, if you tell me to take it easy and enjoy myself, I’m not going to argue with you. Plus, I was 18 weeks pregnant with my little Bug at the time, so I was more than okay being the tortoise for this one.

Meri flew in first and we palled around the city while we waited for Cam to join us.


Welcome to San Francisco in July. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Once Cam was with us, it was basically about preparing for the 5K – outfit planning and packet pick-ups, which included t-shirts, a headband, and a packet of color to use after the race – and eating. Oh yes, there was eating.


Cuteness with a crepe sundae.


Stuffing my pregnant face like a lady.


Getting pumped! Please note our t-shirts. Clear eyes, full hearts, free Tim!

With our bellies full  – really, really full – and our race day duds ready to go, we hit the hay. We needed to save our energy for all the happiness and color to come!

July 14th dawned bright and foggy and we woke early to get the party started. Fun fact: Cam is kick-ass at hair braiding, which means she is the Official Hair Braider™ at any and all races she attends with the Chicks.


Mmhmm, that’s right.


Meri is dreaming about freeing Tim Riggins here.

We made our way to Candlestick Park (go 49ers with your crappy old stadium!) and joined the bazillion other people who were braving the very chilly weather to run/walk/dance their asses to color nirvana.

Literally, there were a bazillion people there.


We were pretty far back from the start line and with the race starting in waves, we had to wait for a while to get going. But they were pumping awesome music through the speakers and the people-watching was pretty excellent, so we busied ourselves with jumping up and down to stave off the cold, pointing out some great costumes, and dodging the rule-breakers who were throwing their packets of color up in the air (hello, that’s for after the race!).

Oh, and we took some pictures, too.


We had the raddest socks there.


We love each other!


Showing off our impressive guns. And cuteness.

And then it was our turn! We began our trek around the stadium, starting off slow and steady with a brisk walk.

Well, there was some pretend-running.



And then? Then it was time for the color. Let me paint this picture (get it? Paint? Because of the color): you’re skipping along with your friends and fellow runners and then all of a sudden right ahead is a cloud of bright color. Truly the coolest thing. And when you see color, what do you do?

Why, you RUN, my friends. You run to the color and roll around in it (seriously) and stand in front of the color-dousers and make them douse you extra-good. And you cover your mouth because hello, it’s a cloud of color, but it gets into your mouth anyway. You don’t care! This is so fun! Wee, color!

They call it mellow yellowwwww.

Color Run volunteers happy to pose for a photo op.

You high five people as they run by!

Slap me some skin!

You stop for water, because all that frolicking and high-fiving and color-getting works up a thirst.

99.9% parched.

Note to future Color Runners: don’t park your car next to a color station.

Sorry not sorry.

We got through all of the color stations at a nice clip considering we were walking, and then there it was. The finish line and the beginning of the par-tay! As you can see, people were in no rush to PR.

As you can see, people were in no rush to PR.

We were done!


Cel-e-brate good times, come on!


Blue Sunglasses wanted to be a part of our cute crew. Sorry, dude, only room for three.


Livin’ la vida color.

We were also insanely thirsty. There were stations set up after the finish line with juice and coconut water and snacks, all of which had pretty extensive lines. But no water water. We just wanted water water! Hopefully they’ve remedied the water water situation since last July.

There was a Color Festival just past the finish line, which we moseyed over to.

Party time, excellent!

This is where the color packets came into play. Thousands of us gathered round a DJ set up at the front of the crowd, dancing and celebrating and taking pictures of our manginess. And then the DJ told us to open up our packets and we all counted down. 5-4-3-2-1…

The hills were alive with a color ‘splosion (ah ah ah ahhhhh). In the interest of protecting my phone, I didn’t take pictures as it was happening, but this was the aftermath.


Meri got it on her teeth…


Cam got a mustache…


I got it everywhere!

After some more dancing and celebrating, we decided we were both parched and starving (surprised? Didn’t think so), so we packed it up and packed it in and took ourselves over the Golden Gate Bridge to a magical place called In N Out. Sure, it was 10:30 in the morning. Sure, we were completely covered in colored corn starch. But Meri had never had the pleasure of stuffing an In N Out burger into her mouth, so off we went! We definitely got some looks from the other early-risers at In N Out, and I got my hair petted by some high dude who must have thought I was one big acid trip, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

Meri especially.


All in all, this was a pretty stellar race experience. And now that The Color Run is a total phenomenon, with similar races like Color Me Rad and Run or Dye,  there’s really no excuse not to do it again. Who knows, maybe it’ll be my first post-Bug race. There’s really no better – or more colorful – way to ease myself back into running.

What’s the most fun race experience you’ve had? We want to hear about it in the comments!