Running With All The Colors Of The Wind


Most of the time, you wouldn’t expect to hear the word “happy” associated with the term “5k,” unless the two were bridged by something like “I’m so happy I’m not doing that 5k.” The Color Run Tropicolor World Tour 2016, which stopped in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Aug. 20, wanted to change that attitude.

Self-named “the happiest 5k on the planet,” this Color Run 5k set its sights high. It didn’t want just participants; it wanted excited, dedicated fans, who would walk away from the event wishing it hadn’t ended quite so quickly.

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The party that was SLC’s Tropicolor Color Run started off at the Main Library’s Library Square. Even before the run itself, movement was happening. A DJ directed incoming runners to registration booths before navigating them to the main stage for some pre-run Zumba, led by an instructor and mirrored by a unicorn-costumed dancer. While the unicorn was certainly not the strangest component of the Color Run, it may have come close.

Turns out, simply throwing colored chalk at people as part of a religious celebration is no longer enough. Now it’s necessary to have the color throwing attached to a run, complete with both a before and after-party, each of which involved loads of free gifts thrown from various platforms by the DJ, with unicorns to add to the effect. There’s no denying though, despite its problematic nature, that the plethora of gifts, events and activities tied to the Tropicolor Color Run were engaging.

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Once it began, the run circled downtown around the Main Library. Multiple color zones, each dedicated to a specific color, were situated along the course. Inflatable arcing tubes signaled their locations beyond which stood two lines of volunteers, enthusiastically spraying as much chalk as they possibly could at each participant as they passed. These volunteers must be commended; very few of their shots hit the off-limits faces of participants, which can’t have been easy given how difficult it must have been for them to see anything, let alone what their barely-controlled chalk throws were hitting. At the finish line near the library and the start line, participants had the chance to get any color they may have missed throughout the race for whatever reason in a final rainbow color zone.

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Unlike most races, the Tropicolor Color Run 5k didn’t have a timer. The run emphasized having a good time over having a good finish time, making it the perfect 5k for a first-timer as well as for anyone interested in walking a few miles and getting beautifully decorated along the way.

Judging by the exuberant cheering echoing at the start line, each color zone and finish line, not to mention the before and after-parties, it seems fair to say this 5k Color Run accomplished its goals: whether it was the happiest may be questioned, but it certainly did produce smiles.

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