How to colour yourself happy this summer — literally

Looking to make your 5K more interesting? Why not add a few hundred people pelting you with coloured powder?

Color Run participants show off their newly-acquired hues

Color Run participants show off their newly-acquired hues (Photo courtesy of

Last night, I got that old feeling back. That sentiment after a great run — the sweaty, salty afterglow on your face. Bright red, sticky hair but a happy heart with the completion of, in my case, a 4K run. Not a bad one I thought, given I’m still working my way back from a spring knee injury.

And now that I’m getting my running groove back, I’m also eagerly eyeing the race calendar. As many runners know, races keep you motivated to hit the streets or treadmills in training, so it’s time I put a race in my crosshairs. But maybe a different kind of event is what I should be aiming for. Especially after hearing from my good friend Barb Eccles, who did The Color Run this July in Windsor, Ontario.

She explained to me a race where runners are gleefully doused in a different colour of powder at each one kilometre interval (with a final spray of colour after the race is done, to top things off).

I chose the race because it looked fun, a little crazy, unconventional and not your typical run,” she explains. When she found out the run wasn’t timed, she also invited her 10-year-old son, who’d never done a 5K race, to join her, as well as other family members and friends.

“The whole experience was so entertaining and enjoyable. It had a real party atmosphere happening with an abundance of really creative race attire, dance music throughout the run and a lot of smiling faces. And with people running in small groups or as families, it was the most bonding I’ve seen at a run.”

After looking into The Color Run series, which first started in January 2012, it seems health and happiness is what this race is all about. CEO Travis Snyder started the run as a mass-participation event focused on having an amazing, colourful experience rather than scoring a personal best time.

“It’s about fun, and being social and enjoying the experience of colour, music and a healthy, happy way of life,” says James Leitz, the senior vice-president and director of Action Sports IMG, who operates the run and notes that as many as 60 percent of participants haven’t done a 5K race before. “It’s also about realizing your potential and having a great time doing it.”

Celebrate health and happiness? I’m all over it — and if you are too, check out these upcoming Canadian dates to get your colour (and happiness!) on:

Montreal (August 17)
London (August 17)
Ottawa (August 25)
Vancouver (September 14)

To register, or for more details, please visit

Tell us in the comment section below: What’s your favourite charity run in Canada?

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