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Color Run Madison 2013 Race Recap

Full Disclosure: I was given a free entry to this race, but I am not being compensated for this post and the opinions are completely my own.

My first race of the year!  …and my third race ever.

Last weekend I ran The Color Run 5k Madison. After I ran The Color Run in Chicago last summer, I was thinking about running it again and hoping it would come to Madison – and it did!


The weather was less than ideal, rainy and cloudy, but it wasn’t too cold. (especially compared to the horrible weather  waiting for Crazylegs last year!)  It probably helped that  Sarah and my friend Libby were running the race also, so having them to chat with was a good distraction from the weather.  (Shout out to my husband and Stina who came out to watch us even though the weather was kind of miserable!) I was curious to see how/if the rain would affect the color…and it definitely did! When it was raining hard, the color did wash off a little but once it was lighter it helped it stick better.  I definitely came out more colorful at the end of this race than I did last time.


The running itself I feel pretty good about.  I don’t know the time or distance exactly because my runkeeper app was acting up, and the race itself isn’t timed.  …and these races are kind of known for not being exactly 3.1 miles.  But I think I finished in about 35 minutes, and it seemed like it wasn’t much less than 3.1 miles.  I’m pretty happy with that considering the course was kind of hilly and there was mud and puddles all over to navigate, and it was raining for much of the race.  I definitely was running this for fun, not for a speedy time.  I felt good about the run, and though I did take a few walking breaks I ran most of the time, so I’m not really concerned about the exact numbers.


Some things that I learned/confirmed after running this race for the second time:

1) Have fun.  If you aren’t cool with getting color all over you, or if you are all about getting a fast time, this race isn’t for you.  The color zones are what make this race unique! Running for time is not really the point, and it is probably pretty hard to do considering the color zones (and the race in general) can get pretty congested with walkers, slower runners, and strollers.  That being said, if you are looking for a fun, laid back, race, this one is a great choice!


2) Arrive early and line up right away.  With the rain last weekend, there were lots of people standing under overhangs out of the rain before the race started, rather than just lining up at the start. We got there about 30 minutes prior to the race start time and decided to just head towards the starting line, rather than try to wait out the rain.  From my experience last year I learned that if you don’t get there fairly early you will have to wait a while to actually run because they send people out in waves every few minutes.  This year, since so many people were hiding from the rain, we ended up being in the first wave! It was muddy and wet when we went through, I can only imagine it got worse as hundreds of people ran through. (side note: if you want swag thrown to you at the starting line, the front is not the place to be.  Pretty much every t-shirt, frisbee, and pair of socks was thrown way over our heads. 🙁 )

3) Stay for the color throw. Last year I didn’t stick around for the big color throw party at the end of the race. (You know the photos with the big poof of color in the air?  Most of those are from that color throw, not the actual race.) I ran by myself and I didn’t want to just stand around for it not really knowing where or when it was going to happen.  This year, Sarah and Libby and I stuck around.  After the race was over we headed to the stage area where the “party” was.  Luckily it had stopped raining by then, otherwise I’m not sure we would’ve stuck around.  The thing about this big color throw is that you don’t know when it will happen.  Basically people just hang out by the announcer guy until he says its time.  I think we waited about 10 minutes before the color throw, not too bad.  The throw itself is very cool – and really where you get the most covered in color.  Definitely worth sticking around for, especially if you are just hanging out with friends anyways, or if it is your first color race. The photo of us above is after the race, the photo below is after the throw. (If you look at my hat, you can really see the difference.)


Related: Don’t throw your color packet before the official color throw after the race! It says this all over the race instructions and FAQ, but people still do it.  Yes, those packets are kind of annoying to carry while you run if you don’t have somewhere to put them, but the other 99% of us figured out how to manage, so I’m not sure why there always has to be those few people who can’t follow the rules. I feel bad for the poor little girl in a stroller who got surprised with a blast of color before the race even started because someone decided to open their color while we were waiting to start.

10(Photo courtesy of Stina)

4) Bring towels or something to line the seats of your car. Last year when I ran, I didn’t get nearly as colorful, but I still felt like I was going to get it all over the car before I would have a chance to wash it all off.  We weren’t really thinking about this ahead of time and ended up just using some random sweatshirts that were in the car already to cover the seats.   This year, I remembered towels.   It was a good thing too, because  I definitely would’ve covered the car in color this time! Last year when I ran, the color was almost like a dust that was covering me, so it was easy to brush off a lot of it.  This year, since it was wet, the color was pretty caked on to my clothing and skin, brushing it off to get a little cleaner before getting into the car was not an option.

Overall it was a fun race! I felt confident about my running, and enjoyed it, which were pretty much my two goals.  Next race: 10k.  In Chicago.  In August.  My first 10k and longest distance ever. I’ve already started praying to the weather gods for a nice overcast 65-70 degree day.

11 Responses

  1. Which race are you running in Chicago? I was thinking about doing the Big 10 10k there!

  2. yay color run! 🙂

    i was so thankful that i brought a towel too. even with a giant beach towel, i still got color on my seat back. it wiped off easily though, thank goodness!

    • I definitely made a point to bring them this year because I could not believe I forgot to bring them last year!

      And yeah, there was still a bit of color on my car too, but definitely not as bad as it would’ve been without a towel!

  3. Looks like fun! A lot of bright colors on an otherwise grey day!

  4. Did you wear your glasses while running the race? I’m debating running one in Albany this fall (though it’s still so far away from my home!), but my husband wears glasses and I’d like him to run it with me–and be able to see.

    • Yes, I ran with glasses, and last year I ran with sunglasses. The rain made it a little annoying, but other than that they didn’t get too full of color – I don’t remember it being an issue at all last year.

      And actually I would recommend wearing glasses or sunglasses, otherwise the dust is likely to get in your eyes unless you make sure to keep them closed through the color zones!

  5. I definitely learned the hard way the first time I ran the color run to bring a towel (can you say rainbow colored car seats?!). Looks like you guys had a lot of fun despite the rain!

    • We did! Luckily it had stopped raining by the time we finished so we were able to get some fun photos!

  6. […] be to protect my phone while running the color races that I had planned for the year!  When I ran The Color Run last weekend, I put one to the […]

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