Smiling for the Camera Post Color Run
Fitness, Life

First-Timer’s Guide to Running in a Color Run

It now seems like ages ago, but once upon a time, I traveled to Philadelphia to visit some friends and we all ran in our very first Color Run. We had a great time and we really lucked out with the weather. Being a hot July morning, we were pretty relieved that it was fairly overcast. It was hot without the sun, so we could only imagine what it would be like with full-force sun.

Since we were all new to this, there were some things that we found out through trial and error that we wish we had known or thought about before the race. If you’re thinking about running in a Color Run or if you are signed up and ready to go, here are some tips that you might find useful if you are a first-timer.

9 Tips for Your First Color Run

1. Wear as much white as you can, but don’t wear anything you care too much about.

Before the Color Run

One of the most fun things about the Color Run is comparing the before pictures with the after pictures. Everyone’s gear is so stark white and clean and bright! Be warned however, that won’t last. It’s a Color Run after all, so be prepared to get colorful! We all wore white tops that we didn’t care too much about (and actually ended up ditching). The Color Run website assures you that the color will eventually come out after washing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Be prepared for there to be a LOT of people.

Waiting to Start the Color Run

There were tons and tons and tons of people at the Color Run! There were so many people that they had to have people start running in waves. And even an hour after the initial start time, there were still waves of people starting. Even though they were spacing out people starting the race, the sheer number of people made it difficult to navigate the road and actually run once we got started. That ended up being okay, because it was a) super hot and b) we decided that we just wanted to do a combination of walking, skipping and running anyways.

3. Slow down to maximize your color.

Getting Blue at the Color Run

One of our goals for the Color Run (obvs, we had a goal) was to get as colorful as we could. To achieve our goal, we slowed down as much as we could without stopping during the color stations. We also wanted an even coat, so we would alternate which side we would go to for color for each different station, since the color-ers were on both sides of the road.

4. It’s actually not a race.

Finally Finished the Color Run

We made it to the finish line! But you’ll notice that there is no finish time on top of the finish banner. We had race bibs, but there were no race chips, times or anything like that. The Color Run is a fun run, so there was no time tracking involved. The lack of time-tracking also made us feel less guilty about not running the entire time and taking it easy. The result was that we all won, because we were colorful!

5. Celebrating after the run is a great time to have fun and let loose

Guys Dancing After Color Run

Once you’re finished the course, it’s time to have some fun with your friends. There is a big field where you can throw color at each other or visit various tents that provide merchandise (for sale), water, snacks, and other booths.

6. Be prepared to be colorful for a couple of days

Smiling for the Camera Post Color Run

After we had our fill of color, we walked away with a lot of color on our skin. After some pretty aggressive scrubbing in the shower, we all found that we still had some bits of color on us. Be aware that while the color does eventually come off, you may find yourself with renegade color on your skin for a day or so. This is something to consider if you have to go to work the next day and feel like showing up with color may not be the most professional thing for you to do. If this is a concern for you, ignore tip #3 and go quickly through the color stations and go in the middle of the road to minimize color.

7. It’s not your typical Saturday or Sunday morning.

Post-Color Run Color Throw

As I mentioned above, the fun doesn’t stop when you cross the finish line. In fact, that’s where it begins! There are color throws, live music and general mayhem. The scene after the run is more reminiscent of a concert, not what you would expect to find on Sunday morning at 8:30am.

8. Take Advantage of the Blowers

Color Run Blowers

If you’ve really taken advantage of the color possibilities during the Color Run, it’s likely that you’ll have a TON of color and color dust on your. The Color Run folks know that you need to get home somehow (and hopefully not color everything you touch in the process), so they’ve kindly provided people with leaf blowers to help you get the excess color off your person.

9. Bring a change of clothes and plenty of protective layers for your car

Our Color Run Team

Yup, I think it’s safe to say that we achieved our goal of getting as colorful as possible. Even if you do take advantage of the color blowers, you’ll still be pretty colorful. In fact, as I mentioned, it’s pretty hard to get the color OFF of you. Be prepared for this fact and think about how you’re going to get home without ruining everything you touch. We brought a ton of towels with us an had them ready to protect my friend’s car. We also got rid of our shirts before we left. You may want to consider a change of clothes, but keep in mind that those will get dirty too.

The Verdict


4 stars of 5

Overall, I would give the Color Run 4 of 5 stars. I’d likely do it again if some of my friends were doing it, but I probably won’t go out of my way to make sure I do it again. It was a lot of fun! It’s not every day that you get to run around and get messy and let it all hang loose. The Color Run is great for just… having a good time and letting loose!



Overall, our Color Run journey took about 5 hours. We had to get up at the ungodly hour of 4:30am in order to make it to the race on time. My friend lived pretty far from the race, so if you live closer, it may not take you as much time. Be aware that traffic, parking and getting to and from the course will all take time. Plus, as I mentioned above, the number of people made it difficult to actually get a good pace going. Walking a 5K takes much longer than running one does.



Admission for the Color Run was about $40 after you factored in the service fee on top of the $35 race admission cost. This included admission to the race, a t-shirt, a headband, a packet of color and some temporary tattoos. We all used clothes that we already owned, but the cost of the race could increase if you decide to buy new white clothing.

Have you ever run in a color run? What was your experience? Have any tips for first-timers?

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