The Arizona Color Run

When my co-worker, Adam, showed me the website for a 5K run called “The Color Run”, I was intrigued.
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I am not a runner and I am certainly not athletic by any means, but for some reason, this 5K seemed like it would be fun. When I found out it would benefit Cardon Children’s Medical Center, I was sold.

Cardon Children’s Medical Center was the hospital my son, Daniel, went when he had his appendix removed. Their facility was first rate and the nurses, doctors and volunteers could not have been more caring or concerned. While Daniel spent his week at Cardon’s, he was well taken care of. This 5K was not only intriguing but it also held an important meaning for me: it would be a way to walk for kids who couldn’t.

Now Adam is a runner. He is also a lot younger than I am, and he was in the military. After considering what I had gotten myself into, I knew there was no way I would be able to keep up with him. I get winded getting up and going into the kitchen, for Pete’s sake! However, Adam recruited our co-workers Cheri, Emelie and Emelie’s boyfriend, Andrew. Emelie would be my walking partner.

The idea behind “The Color Run” is that at each kilometer, a group of volunteers throw a primary color at the runners, who are clad in white t-shirts. By the end of the race, you are a Crayola box mess, doused in various powdered (and washable) colors.  This year was the first year this 5K was held in Arizona and it sold out!  About 6000 people participated in the event, held at Tempe Town Lake.

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The morning was a gorgeous Saturday.  Our team, named of course by Adam, was “We’ve Got The Runs”.  Adam, Cheri, Andrew, Emelie and I initially milled about in a sea of white t-shirts.  Cardon Children’s Medical Center had a booth, as did BodyArmor, Fuze and 5 Hour Energy, to name a few.  We loaded up on some of the samples, slugged back some 5 Hour Energy drinks, and made our way to the starting line.

The guys and Cheri decided they were going to run, Emelie and I decided we would be “The Color Walkers”.  As the event started, a mass of people started running and they weaved around me and Emelie.  Emelie and I thought we should pick up our pace when we were passed by a mom with a stroller and a couple walking their white-t-shirt-clad dog.  As we approached the first color kilometer, we saw a huge bottleneck of people, all congregated within the yellow flags that indicated the first paint station.  It was situated like a color car wash; there were flags on either side of us and as we entered, volunteers with canary yellow powdered paint splashed us with color!  My arm was completely golden as we emerged on the other side and Emelie had a hard time keeping the chalk-like dust out of her mouth!

Our walk continued to the next color station, this one a bright emerald green.  The glut of participants had thinned out by this station, as the runners left the walkers in their (colored) dust.   While we vowed to hold our breath through the color wash, Em and I couldn’t help but laugh as we watched each other get pelted by paint!

The walk itself seemed to just fly by.  We were enjoying ourselves and watching the other participants:  people dressed in tutus, outlandish costumes, and groups of folks with crazy team names emblazoned on their shirts.   Emelie and I weren’t shy about trying to stand out in the colorful crowd as we posed for the camera people who were stationed at each kilometer.

Our third stop was the rich, royal purple, which was quickly added to our multi-hued t-shirts.  This was followed by the brilliant, bright pink shade that I literally rolled on the ground to get!  We stopped the walkers behind us, and I laid down on my back and rocked back and forth to achieve my desired coverage.  Not to be outdone, Emelie joined me in quick succession, as people stopped to watch us.

We came up on the finish line only to find thousands of people who had already achieved their goal, celebrating and taking pictures of their new prismatic clothing.  We found our other teammates who were equally doused in powder.  Adam had a few powder packets and he proceeded to sprinkle me and Emelie with the shocking orange–only to get it in Emelie’s mouth!

Our adventure was over in less than two hours, but the exhilarating day had just begun.  The Color Run celebrants danced to the DJ set up at the end of the course and threw powder packets in the air, creating a rainbow effect in the Tempe sky.  It was an awesome end to a very colorful day!

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Snow in Arizona

Generally, when you think of a fun place to play in the snow, Arizona doesn’t exactly spring to mind.