This past Friday it seemed like all of my social media outlets became flooded with talk about a certain race taking place the following day. Somehow I was able to block out all the hype about this particular race starting with the announcement that it would in fact be staged in Missoula all the way up through this past week. However, with the excitement reaching a breaking point on Friday with seemingly the whole city of Missoula participating, I got sucked in.
Yep, Brent Reser got registered for Color Me Rad!
Well, check that, I really didn’t get registered, I got very lucky. My friend had a full sponsored team for the race. However, at the last minute one of the girls on the team pulled out. Chelsea asked me if I wanted to fill in and after asking her a couple questions, I committed to a 9 a.m. run the next morning. I was about to get rad!
Don’t know what Color Me Rad is? Let me explain real fast. Color Me Rad is a racing tour that goes around the country staging 5K runs. Of course the defining factor of these runs is that race participants get doused in all sorts of vibrant colors throughout the race. Using this corn starch powder and a type of liquid spray, participants get turned into human rainbows. The color mayhem begins right at the starting line and continues at certain spots throughout the course and then culminates with one last color shower at the finish line. Besides all the powder and spray that volunteers and race organizers throw at you throughout the race, you are also able to purchase as many colored powder bags that you desire to add to the fun…and let me tell you, people take full advantage.
From what I have been told, these types of color runs are nothing new. They have been around for decades and besides Color Me Rad, there are other color race tour competitors out there. Well, consider me ignorant because before this past week, I had no idea that these things existed. Probably for the better though because it enabled me to really experience something so unique and fun with absolutely no preconceived notions going in.
Missoula’s Color Me Rad took place in a desolate location about nine miles outside of Missoula. Of course come race day that desolate location transformed into a colorful paradise. After parking my car in an overgrown field, I strolled over to the start line. Big crowds dressed in white and silly costumes were getting ready to run. People were already spreading the bags of colored powder on one another, music blared. The race is organized in “waves”, basically different heats of people taking off at half hour intervals to make sure everyone gets an adequate colorful experience. I was in the first wave of the day at 9 a.m. As we waited at the start line, the race organizer said a few words before sending us off. Let me tell you, this dude was exactly what I envisioned when I thought about what someone who was in charge of a race called “Color Me Rad” would look/talk like. He was your stereotypical hippie with long braided hair and a straggly beard. He wore a silver vest with matching silver pants. While talking to us, he told us that “Some stupid people did a bad thing in Boston.” Interesting way to say it. He then asked us to take a moment of silence. After that moment he roared into the microphone “Let’s get RAD for Boston.” He then started the race.
We were blessed with amazing, sunny weather for the race. I chose to run the whole way instead of doing the courteous thing and waiting for my teammates. But I couldn’t help it. It was just so nice running through the course with the anticipation of what each color station would hold. The course was never crowded and I actually ran through many of the color stations all by myself, thus insuring that I got hit especially hard by the colors and spray from the volunteers. Despite running mostly uphill and on a trail layered with rocks, it was the easiest 3.1 miles I had ever ran in my life. When I got to the finish line and ran through the last cloud of color, I wanted to keep going.
Post race was fun too! After reuniting with my teammates we took pictures both with our phones and then at the professional photo station that was set up to capitalize on the racing color high that everyone had. Good music continued to play and people kept buying more of the color packets to try to get even more rainbowish than they already were. Meanwhile, the 9:30 a.m. wave got started as the hippie race organizer fired them up. To take a phrase from this very interesting fellow, I then “peaced out.”
I would definitely recommend Color Me Rad. It is such a fun concept and I really did enjoy myself on Saturday. Believe me, anyone can do it. The race is not timed and everyone participating is just there to have a good time. Although you will have to take a longer shower than usual and you might have to throw away some clothing, it is well worth it. On Saturday morning, I was definitely rad. Don’t Blink.