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All I heard from the moment The Color Run in Erie sold out (in record time for an Erie event) was “Where are they going to put 10,000 people in the city of Erie,” and “It’s going to be a mess,” and “Better get there early…or you’ll have to park two miles away.”
I’m happy to say that it was none of those things. It was probably one of the most well organized fun runs I’ve ever been to.
I didn’t personally pick up our packets, but my niece who went with my daughters to pick them up at the Millcreek Mall reported that it was fast & easy (as did all my Facebook friends who commented on it). The Color Run “store” there had some fun, reasonably-priced things — socks, sunglasses, etc. The sunglasses proved to be a worthy $5 investment as they were practically a necessity on race day (otherwise you would get colored cornstarch in your eyes!).
We got to the race a little later than I wanted to (as always!) — about 7:45 a.m., but we had no problem parking as the garages and surface lots all around the event were open and free (FREE! Try that in a big city). Volunteers pointed us into a ramp and we walked two blocks to the event where we headed right through Perry Square to the start line in front of the Court House.
We didn’t make it into the first wave, but I actually think that might have been better because as we ran through the color stations, the streets were covered…so you could pick some up and throw it at your friends or make color angels:
As our wave waited in the corral, there was (as is common at many major “for fun” events) a guy pumping the crowd up…playing great music, getting everyone excited…giving a countdown and tossing down free stuff into the crowd.
At the start line
One they let us loose, we ran up and turned west. We encountered our first color station — blue — less than a 1/2 mile into the race.
We learned very quickly to cover our mouths with our shirts when we ran through a station. Kelly is shown just above. After this station, she took off and ran the rest of the way. My niece, Lauren and I walked the rest of the course.
I’d say that 70 percent of the participants in The Color Run walked the course. You could run…but why? It wasn’t timed and I’m sure it was kind gross to get shot with the colored cornstarch if you were sweaty. That said, my girl Kelly raced the thing like there were awards. There weren’t (awards) and, as I said, it wasn’t timed.
There were a total of 5 color stations — blue, yellow, pink, purple, pink — on the course. They were easily identified by the inflatable colored arches across the road and, oh…yeah….a gigantic cloud of colorful “dust.”
It was pretty cool.
Fun signs also announced the upcoming color station.
At the finish (below) every runner received a packet of color for the finish line party.
The party was a blast with a DJ, a charismatic “host” (how do I get that gig?) pumping the crowd up, and race staff on stage tossing chalk and Color Run swag into the crowd. There were beach balls being bounced around and water guns being sprayed.
The highlight of the post-race party though, was the color toss when the DJ/host counted down & encouraged everyone to toss their colors into the air.
Here’s what it looked like from the outside:
And, here, is what it looked like on the inside:
Why do I feel like this is a future glimpse of my girl at 18 at some rock concert?
There were also lots of photo opportunities — photo booths, photo ops…like this cool kaleidoscope you could shoot through:
All in all, it was a great event and it was very cool to see 10,000 people in downtown Erie having a good time doing something related to fitness.
I heard a lot of grumbling from “real” runners (and, let me remind you that you all started somewhere) that this wasn’t a “real” race (well, no, it wasn’t) and that these types of runs are stupid, but…here’s the thing: if this inspires one person to start running or walking or take steps to get fit — if only so they can participate in “stupid” races like this — well, then that’s still an awesome thing.
I also heard some criticism about big races coming in & charging big money and taking participation away from other area events. But, A.) this wasn’t a real race…so “serious” runners who want a timed race wouldn’t opt for this over another, B.) I paid $25 each (early bird team pricing) which is what most local organizers are now charging for a regular 5K (which I think is absurd…as a 5K race director, I know what it costs to put on a race). And, we got a lot more than just a t-shirt for our $25.
Here’s our “after” photo:
The only thing I can say I was a little bit disappointed about was that the color didn’t really stay in our shirts. I wish there were a way to keep the colorful shirts we earned (say, stick it in bag with vinegar for week or whatever…), but most of it washed out. On a related note, it also easily washed off my body and out of my hair…out of my ears, etc. (Blowing your nose was kinda fun all day…like…ooh…wonder what color it will be this time! Gross? Oh…come on, we’re runners!).
I’d highly recommend the event to anyone. Just come with the mindset of having fun…and know that you are likely going to walk most or all of the 5K course.
I’m glad The Color Run came to Erie. I’m glad it sold out out quickly and that it helped with tourism this summer because that’s why the Erie Sports Commission brings these events, you know…it’s not really about us….but we get to join in the fun, too.
More than 500 photos from the GoErie Street View crew here.
I asked Emily Biddle, Communications Manager of the Erie Sports Commission, a few more questions about the Color Run.
Where exactly is packet pickup?
Packet pickup at the mall is going to be in Center Court. The best place to enter will be the mall entrance near Sears, but being so centralized, it will be accessible from everywhere. Participants should make every effort to pre-register at the mall on Thursday or Friday to avoid what could be long lines on Saturday morning. It’s from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
How many are participating?
The race sold out at 10,000 participants! (Can’t WAIT to see that many people colorful and happy in Downtown Erie!)
Will they be dividing runners into waves? Will we be assigned a start time?
Yes, the race will go off in waves. The first wave will leave at 8 a.m., and they will go off every few minutes until 9:30. To the best of our knowledge, waves have not been assigned. Participants will just line up. This is a high-energy race, so the race directors will have plenty more going on (pre-race party including music, dancing, Zumba, giveaways, etc.) while you wait to take off.
What if it rains?
The event will happen rain or shine. Fortunately, it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day! The only weather event that would lead to a cancellation will be severe weather (lightning).
What about parking?
As far as parking is concerned, several parking lots have been identified for this race. Free parking will be available at in three lots identified in the race guide (E. 4th and French, E 4th and Holland, and E. 7th and French). In addition, EMTA shuttles will be running from 6:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. to bring participants that park along the bayfront into downtown. The trolley will run from the Intermodal Center lot to Perry Square, a shuttle from Liberty Park and Ride to Perry Square, and another shuttle from the 12th and Lincoln St. Park and Ride, to Bayfront Convention Center, finishing the run at Perry Square. On street parking will be available as well. For anyone concerned about parking, however, the best advice I can give is to give yourself plenty of time and arrive early! The parking is there, it just might take longer to get to. The Color Run race directors have a fun morning planned, and there will be PLENTY going on prior to the 8 a.m. start of the race! J
Further, parking will be available at the two internal parking decks at Peach&7th, and Peach and 9th. It’s important, though, that those people planning to park there ARRIVE EARLY! They’ll close off at 7;15 to prepare for the race, and won’t reopen until after the last wave of runners have been sent, approximately 9:30 a.m.
Anything else we need to know?
The biggest thing to remember, other than arriving early, is just to have fun and enjoy! This is the largest event series in the country, one that travels all over the world. It really is going to be an incredible experience for everyone, and is going to be a spectacle in Downtown! We want everyone to come out, see what’s going on, and have a blast!
Are you ready for the Color Run on Saturday? I am! I read my race guide, the race FAQ, and these tips for cleaning up. And I picked up some white T-shirts (5 for $10 this week at A.C. Moore!) and a white ballcap ($3, also at A.C. Moore) to protect my blonde locks. I’m doing the run with my daughters and college-age niece and I can’t wait to see a crowd of 10,000 lined up in Erie for a race! I think it’s going to be very cool.
I also think it’s going to be impossible to get in & out of the city and to park. My plan? Park a few miles away & bike or walk to the start. (If it were just me, I’d run, but I know I won’t be able to talk the girls into the extra mileage).
Here’s some race news & notes from the Erie Sports Commission:
The Color Run, the single largest event series in the United States, will make its highly-anticipated stop in Erie Saturday, as 10,000 participants will run or walk in the colorful race. The Color Run is an untimed 5K race in which thousands of participants start the race wearing white and are doused from head to toe in different colors at five color zones along the event course.
Race check-in/packet pickup will be held on Thursday and Friday from noon to 6 p.m. at The Millcreek Mall Center Court. All participants are encouraged to attend.
The pre-race party and day-of-race packet pickup will begin at 6 a.m. in Perry Square, and will feature music, dancing, pre-race stretching, Zumba and giveaways. The race will begin at 8:00 a.m. on West 6th Street in front of the courthouse, with waves of participants beginning every few minutes until 9:30 a.m.
Several road closures will take effect due to the event’s location. On Friday, August 8, State St. will close between North and South Park Row beginning at noon, and between South Park Row and 7th St. beginning at 5 p.m. On race day, the following roads will close from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.: W 10th between Sassafras and Myrtle, W 10th between Cherry and Poplar, Liberty St. between W 10th and W 11th St., W 11th between Walnut and Chestnut, and W 11th between Sassafras and Peach. No parking will be available beginning at 4 a.m. Saturday on the race route, including on State St. between North Park Row and 11th St.
Parking will be available in surface lots downtown, in addition to garages and surface lots along the Bayfront. EMTA shuttles will run from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to transport participants from the Bayfront lots to Perry Square. Participants are encouraged to arrive and park early.
The race route and more information is available at www.thecolorrun.com/erie.
Make sure that you
The Erie Day School’s Fun Color Run & Walk has been moved to Frontier Park this year and it is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 9 a.m. (registration at 8 a.m.). Here are more details from the sponsor:
Boys, girls, fathers, mothers, friends and families can all get in on the crazy color fun and turn the color of a rainbow by participating in this unique event. Run or walk through Frontier Park while being colored (volunteers will be spraying colored water) the shades of a rainbow at red, orange, yellow, blue, green and purple ‘color stations,’ (a complimentary white t-shirt will be distributed to all participants). A Fun Color Award Ceremony and picnic lunch will be served at the conclusion of the event. The Fun Color Run is a loop around the park property – following its paths and trails – the more loops you do, the more colorful you get. Whether you’re an experienced runner or a casual walker – this event is for you. Please note this is not a ‘timed’ event. If the event is canceled due to unsafe, inclement weather, your registration fee is non-refundable. Headphones and bicycles are not allowed on the course. All proceeds from the Fun Color Run go towards the Adopt-a-Scholar Program at Erie Day School.
You may remember I did this one with my girls last year and we had a blast. It’s a very low-key and family friendly event. You can run the loop as many times as you like and they simply spray you with color (no chalk in your face!) and there’s a nice little picnic after.
AND…the prices are family-friendly (just $25 for a family of three or more).
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any race and especially true for any Erie Runners Club races. The ERC is an all-volunteer organization. Nobody gets paid to put on races or to direct them, but….there are perks given to those who volunteer.*
Little known fact: In most of the ERC races, if you volunteer in some capacity, you get a free entry which can be used for that race (either for you or for someone else) or for a future ERC race.
BTW, there are plenty of jobs you can do that will still allow you to participate in the race (packet pickup, registration, etc.). Why do you think you see the Cass’ working so many packet pickups and registration tables? Those race fees add up when you have two or more family members running!
Interested in volunteering for a future ERC race? You can contact that race’s director directly (say that three times fast). Find contact info for most local race directors here or you can email or text ERC President, David Comi at 814-881-0060.
Got a group (scouts, sports, church, etc.) that needs to raise funds? Round them up and have them volunteer for a race! The ERC will donate $5 for each volunteer you provide. A few notes on this program from Comi:
This money is donated in lieu of the t-shirts we usually give our volunteers. Your group can also use this time to qualify for community service hours, if needed. So it can be a great fundraiser and more, along with a fun time for all. I can be reached at 814-881-0060.
We have a limited number of entries to The Color Run to provide to volunteers who help us at two upcoming events on May 17 and June 22–The Zombie Run and The Biggest Loser RunWalk. For volunteers who help us out at both events, we will provide a free entry to the sold-out race, coming to downtown Erie on Saturday, August 9. Volunteers must help at both events in their entirety to receive the free race entry, and should email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register and for more information.
* The volunteer policies are always set by the individual race director, so check to be sure the director offers a free entry for volunteers — the information provided above is exclusive to the ERC races, not all local/regional races.
I wasn’t sure if they’d sell out the Color Run in Erie, but…I had seen other Color Runs in bigger cities sell out in 48 hours, so I didn’t hesitate to get the girls and I signed up. Sure enough, word came last week that the event is sold out. They expect 10,000 runners and walkers. TEN THOUSAND. (Wow!)
If you waited too long to register, you can still be a part of the largest run ever held in Erie.
From the Volunteer Erie blog:
The Erie Color Run 5K race, set for Aug. 9 in downtown Erie, is sold out, with 10,000 runners and walkers signed up to participate. If you missed out, you can still participate in this unique event as a volunteer.
The Color Run event organizers are working with United Way of Erie County who is recruiting volunteers. They have created a place for volunteers to sign up through their Get Connected platform that can be accessed here: http://www.getconnectederie.org/volunteer/agency/need/?need_id=35297
Also known as The Happiest 5K on the Planet, the Color Run is a 5-kilometer, untimed race in which participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer mark.
General public registration starts TODAY for the Color Run, the “Happiest 5K on the Planet,” to be held in downtown Erie on Saturday, August 9.
More than 4,000 have already signed up through The VIP registration platform. The race is capped (I heard 10,000 but I don’t know that for sure), so if you’re interested, don’t wait. These events typically sell out early.
Here are more details from the Erie Sports Commission who brought the event to town:
Registration for the Erie event, which is scheduled to start in front of the courthouse on 6th Street and conclude with a colorful finish-line festival in Perry Square, is only $25 per person until March 1st. Individual registration after March 1st is $40 while teams of four or more participants can sign up for $35 per person.
More than a million people have participated in The Color Run, which boasts a presence on almost every continent on Earth. The Color Run is an untimed 5K race in which thousands of participants start the race wearing white and are doused from head to toe in different colors along the event course.
United Way of Erie County, celebrating its 100th fundraising campaign this year, will receive a portion of the proceeds from the race, which will serve as a kick-off event for Celebrate Erie.
For more information on The Color Run in Erie visit www.thecolorrun.com/erie.
About ESC: The Erie Sports Commission is committed to promoting the Erie region as a prime destination for sports and recreation. The major goals of the ESC are to attract, create, support, and host sporting and recreational events that have a positive economic impact on the region, and assist in maximizing the potential of all regional sports facilities and venues. The ESC strives to enhance the image of Erie by showcasing the community, promote wellness through healthy lifestyles, and improve the quality of life for community members of all ages.
BTW — I happen to know that the ESC is bringing a couple of other cool events to town this year that have not been announced yet. Stay tuned!
Time, location & details have yet to be announced, but you can sign up to join the VIP list, which I’ll assume means you’ll be one of the first to know when more details are available.
From their website:
“Also known as The Happiest 5k on the Planet, we love chucking paint and making people smile. At more than 1,000,000+ Color Runners strong, The Color Run is on almost every single continent on EARTH!
Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life, The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer.
With only two rules, the idea is easy to follow:
1. Wear white at the starting line
2. Finish plastered in color!
The fun continues after Color Runners complete the race with an unforgettable Finish Festival. This larger than life party is equipped with music, dancing and massive color throws, which create millions of vivid color combinations. Trust us, this is the best post-5k party on the planet!
It’s a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality. We’re making rainbows all over the world, come join us!”
We are about 7 miles into a planned 15-miler early Saturday morning when Heather D. says, “What time do you need to be at that color run?”
“9 a.m.” I say, running along. “In Fairview.”
Heather looks at her watch and says, “Uh…I don’t think you’re going to be able to make it.” (We were in Waterford at this point).
“What? Really? How did I figure that wrong?” I say as I try to calculate the math in my head. Distance+speed+shower & drive time. “Crap!”
We end up deciding to cut the run slightly short, shaving off less than 2 miles. I’ll make it up at the color run. I apologize profusely to Heather D. for at least three miles.
We get home at 8:20 a.m. Dan helps get the girls ready while I shower. surprisingly, we’re in the car by 8:45 a.m. It takes a good 30 minutes to get to Fairview. I tell the girls to watch for cops (Mother of the Year, I know) as we speed over I-90. (Safely, I swear…we weren’t going that fast).
We pull into Camp Notre Dame at 9:10 a.m. and the race director — the Erie Day School’s Julie Kresge — sees us coming and has our packets out and ready to hand to us. We run into the bathroom to change into our white shirts, which, thankfully, fit us all well. I grab my camera and we set off on the 3/4 mile loop course through the camp trails, in search of our first color station — yellow.
The trails are a wee bit muddy, but that just makes it more fun. We have every intention of getting dirty and stained anyway.
At the cabin area we find a volunteer with a spray bottle in each hand. One by one, we spread our arms out, present our chests, and she uses both bottles to spray us with ink. We turn and she sprays our backs, too.
We giggle and admire each others’ shirts as we run off to Fort Silver. This is going to be cool.
We find a volunteer at the fort with orange and hot pink ink bottles. He sprays us before we run to find red at the Ranger Post, then blue at the pool (of course), purple at the Nature Lodge and green back at the registration table.
We are a rainbow of colors after just one run through the course, but the girls want to do the loop again and get even more colorful. We take it slower this time and enjoy the scenery. We stop at the pond and take pictures, we walk a little more than we run. We laugh and talk. Kelly grows impatient with our pace and runs out ahead.
When we’re done with our three loops, we lounge around outside in the grass, drinking water while we wait for the hot dogs Julie’s husband is cooking over a charcoal fire.
I look at my GPS history and realize our long run that morning was one of the fastest we’ve done so far. Who’d have ever thought my lousy math skills would actually benefit my pace?
BTW — the Erie Day School’s Fun Color Run was not a race. It wasn’t timed, but it was an awesome family-friendly event. The girls loved it and ran most the way on each of the 3/4 mile loops. You were supposed to run it three times, but it didn’t really matter if you walked and did just one loop or ran and did all three. Even the youngest of kids could (and did) do the race. And they offered a family-friendly price of $25 (total) for a group of three or more, so it didn’t cost us a fortune and we didn’t have to drive to Pittsburgh or Cleveland or Buffalo. We loved it! Put this one on your must-do-for-fun list for next year!
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