Color Run, an interesting 5-kilometer fun run is like no other, and it proudly endorses being active and enjoying life. It was founded in March 2011 to promote an event to promote happiness and healthiness by bringing the community to participate in “Happiest 5k run on the planet”. It is the single largest event in the entire world and has exploded since its debut event, and it’s now hosted in over 200cities and 40countries every year including in Beijing, China. It’s not about who can run to the finish line, it’s about the fun, you can walk, jog, hop, skip or even dance through the course because there is music accompanying the running.
Color Run Fun!
On June 20th, 2015, it was the debut Color Run event in Beijing, and it attracted an estimated 20,000 “color runners’ who took part in the five-kilometer race. The Beijing race was the newest addition to a global series of these Color Run events, and it features an untimed five-kilometer race where the runners were pelted with colored powder. The debut Color Run event was held in Arizona, the US in 2012 as an initiative to encourage casual runners to run for fun. Travis Snyder, event producer and Utah native founded it in March 2011 as an attempt to help novices and professionals to run together not only for fun but also to promote happiness and healthiness. The color addition is drawing inspiration from Holi, the Hindu festival, and also from day-glow activities such as Disney’s, the Color World
Color Run, an important festival of ancient and traditional Hindu and also Hare Krishna origin and its also called Holi Festival. Holi is the demon of Hindu king’s sister. This festival goes back in history to more than 2000 years ago. The Holi or the Hindu Color Run festival is always marked at the commencement of spring of each year. Holi, to mean burning originally came from Holika, the demon king of Hindu evil sister. She was of great help to her brother during his reign when he killed his son or her nephew. Legend notes that the demon’s son had denied worshiping him but instead worshiped Vishnu. Holika wanted to end all this when the boy was placed on her lap then sat on fire so that he would die. Holi believed that she would be untouchable since the fire was her power and she would not get burned. Although, to her disappointment, the plan backfired, and she sizzling to death.
In India, they threw colored powders over people and in the air as a symbol of remembrance of Holi, demon sister and the commencement of spring. During this day loads of people worship Kamadeva, the god of love. There are few other myths and variations with some, changing as the years go by. To some, this was when the god of the moon was worshiped. The adoption of the Holi narrative clearly demonstrates at how globalization influences cultures and even with the Pop culture world, there one or two things to borrow from traditions and the past influences.
It emphasizes more on fun than competition. It is open to everybody from first-time runners to seasoned runners and also families and children. The registration fee is usually $35. Runners who are dressed in white, passing through a different color station after every kilometer and each station has its unique color and has volunteers who blast the runners with colored cornstarch from of spray cans. Once you reach the finish line after the untimed race, there is your typical celebration with food vendors and a dance party. Global Poverty Project, partners with Color Run and it, encourages this run because it’s not only fun and a social event but you also get to participate in the movement through GlobalCitizen.org.
Overview: Color Run in Beijing in 2015
Disneyland is “the happiest place on earth” and the closest is in Hong Kong while the Shanghai is still in the works and spending a day there seems like a distant dream for Beijingers. But last year, Beijingers got to enjoy the closest thing to Disney land which was the happiest 5k run the planet has ever witnessed being Color Run. It was quite simple and fun; the runners started the course wearing white and after each kilometer, they passed a color station where they were showed with colored paint on their hair, shoes and clothing. It isn’t a competitive event; there are no prizes, winners or losers, and it’s untimed.
More than 60% of those who participated were first-time runners, and there was a considerable turn-up of around 20000 people. It wasn’t your standard race but more of a fun social event with no significant athletic rules because people were walking, cartwheeling, and dancing down the course. Some parents even ran with their kids in strollers. There was no age limit and was synonymous to a fun family outing.
There was a quite spectacular post-run color throw’ and the finish line; the runners were greeted with a huge dance party-cum color throwing extravaganza that celebrated the completion of the 5-meter race complete with drink points and food vendors together with a top-notch MC. It was more pop culture merging with tradition and just a perfect day out of the office to let loose, socialize, meet new people, network, take photos, indulge and have fun. People took a myriad of selfies, enjoyed spraying the color on participant and even from the photos one woman got engaged amidst the day’s activities.
Running for a Cause
It was a good thing and actually for a good cause with healthiness and happiness taking centre-stage. Usually, Color Run happens to be a for-profit organization and partners with charitable organizations in the country. Last year’s Beijing Color Run was just the first foray into China and from the way everything went, we are looking forward to this year’s Color Run, which is expected to record a higher number of participants. It is also expected to expand to other cities such as Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shanghai. The powder is totally harmless and non-toxic ( food-grade corn starch), but the participants are advised to put on glasses or breathing masks.
Beijing, China’s capital city will always come with awe-inspiring surprises, and the great Color Run has become the latest fad and China is obviously fixated. The maiden event in Beijing was super fun, and people had a time of their lifetime and Beijingers can’t wait to have a second run of the fascinating event since they resonate with its mission, and it’s running for a good cause.
Photo credit: Jack Man