My Happiest 5K!
I first found out about the Color Run™ when I saw an advertisement on Facebook by CIMB several months before the event. I wasn’t quite into runs at that time, but it sounded like an extremely fun social event. I was in two minds about joining it though, because I didn’t know many people who would be into these kinds of activities. So when my friend Ika (who is so into runs – she only started taking up running this year and she’s already training for half-marathons! She’s amazing!) posted the event on the Facebook wall of our mutual friend and her best friend Jocey, I invited myself to their group. After all, the more the merrier, right? Activities like these should not be attended alone.
The Color Run™ is an event that first started in March 2011 in the United States, and is now the single largest event series in the United States. It has been hosted in more than 30 countries, and this year is the first time it is hosted in Malaysia. There have been other variants organised by different organisers, but this is the official one under the same umbrella which is organised by CIMB Bank. Held this year on 17 August, the race was due to start at 7am. The fun run cost RM75 per person which includes a T-shirt (must wear!), a race bib (for fun – it’s not a competition so no medals or time), a headband, temporary tattoo stickers and discount vouchers from sponsors.
So what IS the Color Run about?
Labeled “The Happiest 5km on the Planet”, it’s a 5km fun run filled with colour stations. The colour stations are where coloured powders will be thrown at participants. The idea is to get as colourful as possible by the end of the run!
The four of us (including Jocey’s colleague Choy Har) met for a very early breakfast on the morning of the event. Taking a chance on traffic, we left breakfast at 6am – which was later than our original plan of ARRIVING at the venue at 6am!
The flag-off was at Padang Merbok, a little more than 1km from Lake Garden where we had planned to park. We carpooled to save parking space, and Ika bravely drove. I say “brave”, because of the condition we might leave her car in after the run!
Anyway so I was giving directions to Ika to Lake Garden, when we suddenly had a bit of a shock. At the fork leading to Lake Garden, not more than 5 minutes drive away, we found the road closed. We later found out that part of the road was used in the route – our fault for not checking the route map! But at that time, we felt a bit panicky because we didn’t really know any other alternative route. We were going to use Waze (thank goodness for smartphones!) but we saw that we were not the only ones who were stuck at that fork; there were several other vehicles which paused at the same spot too, probably having the same conundrum!
So when they moved, we followed them. That was when we saw parked cars lining the roads all around that area – and there were A LOT! We drove for quite a distance without finding a single available spot, with cars parked the entire distance (albeit illegally). Leaving earlier would not have helped at all. Jocey also mentioned that there was a cycling event happening at Lake Garden the same morning, which explained the added numbers, and bicycles that were strapped to some of the cars. We were getting a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to find a parking spot within walking distance.
But somehow, it all worked out. We ended up parking along Jalan Kuching at a spot that was less than 1km away from Padang Merbok, which was very much nearer than all the earlier roads we passed. Sometimes things work out for the better!
We didn’t get there in time for the mass warm-up session. We couldn’t have gotten there in time, because the number of runners joining the event was MASSIVE! It looked like there was about 30,000 people there that day.
The participants were released in waves, and the four of us were in the fifth or sixth wave. By the time we were released, some of the runners from the first wave were at the finish line – all covered in colours! That got us really excited and we couldn’t wait to get started! We felt that if we crossed the finish line with our T-shirts still white, the event was a major failure. 😀
Because it was a fun run, we decided not to exert ourselves and instead of running, we strolled along the road at a nice pace, taking selfies along the way – like most of the other participants, although some did choose to run.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t read up about the colour stations concept, and silly me expected the route to be lined with people throwing colours at us. So I was a little disappointed when nothing happened in the first kilometre.
Until we saw the first colour station.
And that was when the fun started!
Once we knew how the colour run worked, with colour stations along the way, we really got into the groove. We still kept an easy strolling pace, but when we arrived at the colour stations, we went crazy! We even grabbed fistfuls of the powder off the ground and threw it at each other.
As I was telling Ika, the concept was so simple, yet so effective – just getting coloured powder thrown at us made us so happy! That little bit made all the difference to a fun run.
Amazingly, I bumped into some of my former students at the event… TWICE! Jade and Tai Yang spotted me first before we got started, though we lost each other shortly. Then I bumped into them again near the finish line, this time with Melody and Yisan. The fact that we could even meet each other was a real random coincidence, given the sheer number of participants. I know of many other friends who participated that day, but it was almost impossible to bump into anyone else that we knew.
It was pretty awesome to meet these kids. They were students from my first homeroom back in 2006, and I haven’t seen them in YEARS! Missed them all so <3
In total there were five colour stations: orange (sponsored by TNT), yellow (Toyota), blue (New Balance), red (CIMB Bank) and green (bonus station!). At the end of the route, we were given packs of purple powder to throw at the finish line, but those packs very quickly ran out. By the time WE got there, there were none left.
There were other stuff happening at the main area (performances and fun competitions – we heard an announcement of children’s dance-off), but we decided not to stick around because of the huge crowd.
We decided to get an early lunch (at 10am) after we were done. Needless to say, our state brought on a lot of stares. We looked like we survived a zombie apocalypse – especially with the red powder dominating all the other colours!
It took forever for me personally to clean up after the run. I had to double soap myself and triple wash my hair, and it took about 10 minutes to completely clean out my ears. I also had coloured boogers (eww!)! But it was all worth it for the amazing experience.
This really is the happiest 5k on the planet!