Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Don't Get It

Running isn't fun.  That's an inarguable fact.  I mean, let's compare running to something that is fun:  watching TV.

Running:  left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.  Repeat hundreds or thousands of times.  


TV:  "Oh!  The king has chickened out and now little Tyrion Lannister must defend King's Landing by himself!" "Hahaha, how did Peter Griffin not know that bringing a horse to live in the house was a terrible idea?"  "OMG, the TARDIS really is bigger on the inside!"  "They're celebrities! And they're dancing!"


Because running is inherently boring, race directors have to use a variety of tricks and gimmicks to attract participants:

Shamrock Marathon, Half Marathon, and 8K:  "If you suffer through one of our races, we at least give you a couple beers and you get to watch bands in a big tent on the beach."

Spartan Race:  "You will either die during our race or your life will be ruined because of grievous injuries.  Think of how badass your coworkers will think you are."

The Now-Defunct Orioles Advocates 5K and the Not-Defunct Phillies 5K, and other sports-themed races:  "You love sports!  Now you get to run out on the same field that other people who play those sports run out on even though you don't get to actually play those sports and you paid for the 'privilege' rather than being paid an exorbitant sum.

Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon:  "Thousands of other people will be around so no one will be chasing you with a knife even though you're in Philadelphia."

Just kidding, Philadelphia.  You know I love you.

New York City Marathon:  "Admit it. You've always wanted to pee off of the Verrazano Bridge."

Boston Marathon:  "Do you know lots of other people who pretend to like running?  Now you'll have bragging rights over them, too!"

Run for Your Lives:  "Practice for the inevitable real zombie apocalypse."

Turkey Trot:  "Feel less guilty for how much you're going to eat later today!"

Now, I'm not a race-directing guru, but these gimmicks work.  I suspect that you signed up for a couple of these races while reading this blog post.

But there's one very popular race series that's really popular right now, the Color Run, with a gimmick that I just don't see the appeal of.

The Color Run is a 5K, during which color run staff or volunteers throw or shoot colored powder at you at various points in the race and you are given packets of colored powder that you can throw up in the air or at other runners if you finish without having been blinded by colored powder or choked by colored powder clogging your airways.

It advertises itself as being an event that's great for runners of all experience levels and speeds (that's good!) and one that a lot of people choose as their first race (that's bad!  See diagram.).  Look, I don't give a crap how fast someone is.  If they're faster than me, that's awesome.  Stop my Garmin as you run by my corpse, please. If they're not, that's awesome too.   But why would you pick this as you're first race?

My first 5K was the "Once and Done Turnpike Run"  on a newly-constructed bridge on the PA Turnpike ("The only time you'll ever be able to go accross this bridge for free!").  If I had been grossly undertrained and collapsed by the side of the road, the only risk is that other runners would run by and point and laugh at me as lay on the shoulder, crying.

But at the Color Run?

 This is fun?  Really?

What are your favorite race gimmicks?  I'm really just in it for the "free" booze.

Disclaimer:  If you love Color Run, no offense is intended.  Feel free to comment about why you think it's fun.  If you don't like it, you can comment on how right I am.  If you're a Color Run race director, this post is meant to be humorous and even though it probably fails miserably at that, please don't sue me. If you're offended by me insulting one of your other favorite races, just remember that you're probably faster and/or better-looking than me. If you're from Philadelphia, please don't chase after and stab me.  Just kidding again, Philly.  I think there are a lot of neat places to run there, and many wonderful things to do and an excellent selection of restaurants and bars.  Go Eagles! Go Flyers!  Go Sixers!  

Disclaimer #2:  I should also credit John at "Daddy Runs a Lot" (see link on the right side of this site) who ran a Color Run recently and also one of my coworkers who is running a Color Run in Philly as his first race, for giving me the idea of this post. 


  1. Do it! I totally want to see Rainbow Brian!

  2. Personally, I like races where you need to stay "mentally active." Zombie run? You keep your wits about you, or a zombie eats you. Color run? I wonder what color will be next, and how awesome is my facebook avatar going to be when I'm done? (note, the latter is much the same for the Spartan Race / TM / etc).

    The color pack is something that I hadn't ever seen before -- but, should I ever run a race with a color pack giveaway, I'm totally going to stalk for someone passing out en route.

    1. I usually just stay mentally active by scanning the ground for snakes to avoid or treasure to pick up.

  3. I got yo back! No desire to do a Color Run race. Eh.

  4. peeing off a bridge. Now that's bliss. Into the wind.

  5. That dang Color Run is everywhere it seems. They are "fun runs" and not for us serious runners!! :)

    I did a fun run (Retro Run, all 80's band) last timing chip, no mile markers. Was just to be purely for fun and my daughter doesn't run so sure, what the heck, it'll be a fun outing with my daughter. Of course I wore my Garmin - I mean, it was a "race". Wouldn't you know it, it was 2.69 miles...if I would have actually RACED the dang thing, I would have had a new 5k PR.

    I'm not too competitive, am I? Ha. I don't see the allure in these fun races. I think they're big for the younger crowds - I was by far the oldest one there. :)