Beijing Color Run, 2013
How on earth did we get this dirty? Well, for ages now we have been dying to do a Color Run, but alas, as much as we move around, we have never been in the right place at the right time. So when we heard that the Color Run was coming to China – We jumped at the opportunity to take part. In fact, we booked our spots even before we knew if my visa would be issued or not. We invited a few people, but in the end we landed up heading to Bejing alone.
We had woken up at 3:55am that morning in order to catch a taxi and then the first train to Beijing. We left enough time to find our hotel, change, drop off our bags, and then head to the Beijing Expo Park. Fortunately this is just a fun run, and the runners were starting in batches of about 1,500 at a time. That meant we had some leeway. The lines to pick up our race packets were long, and at this point in the day it was hot hot hot!!!
Our pack contained our nice clean t-shirt, a white sweat band, poncho (advisable for subsequent taxi, train, or bus rides), a temporary tattoo, race number, and a packet of colored paint powder which was meant to be saved for the “Finish Line Festival”.
Getting dressed for the run
Tattoo on the face… Bummer, mine didn’t work!
We wandered around the Beijing Expo Park grounds taking in the festivities. We could feel the excitement in the air. The organisers had set up a number of stalls and photo areas to keep people busy.
We knew that there were advantages to picking up race packets before the date of the event, but we live five hours from Beijing so we could not do that. Many of the runners had cut their t-shirts to make them more stylish, or simply just to make them as small as possible. I really don’t blame them, and I have to admit, I was quiet jealous that I could not do the same. I never run in anything with sleeves so I was beyond boiling in this t-shirt. It stuck to me like a wet rag. Even Justin would have liked to make his shirt sleeveless, but with little time to spare and no scissors on hand, we had to make due and enjoy the run in what we were given.
We spotted a tattoo lying on the ground. It had been peeled from it’s wrapper already, but the sticky bit happened to be facing upwards when we saw it. We were both really excited!
Take Two – Perfect!
People were so excited that they were scattering their packets of color before they had even passed the start-line. So much for keeping them until the finish line festivities. They simply could not contain themselves. The music was pumping, all around were smiles and laugher, people were dancing… Before it had even begun, we could tell that this TRULY was “The Happiest 5k On the Planet!”
Almost completely clean (the little kiddo in one of the above pictures had attacked Justin with purple paint) and ready to get this party started!!!
About 500 meters into the run people were already sitting down for a rest. In fact, the majority of the runners had slowed down to a walk and they seemed to have no intention of running at all.
We came around a corner and heard music in the distance. Excitement started to build as we saw the first color station not far away. Station number 1: GREEN!
You have a choice in just HOW much paint you want to get on you. So keeping to the left meant minimal color, and keeping to the right meant you should be prepared for whatever came your way. As you can see from the amount of color on the floor already, many groups of runners had been through these stations before us, but that didn’t stop the volunteers from trying to cover us in green!
As you can see, many people got through the first color station with only slight splashes of green on them. It seemed though that after this station things really started getting crazy. After this we WANTED to get as messy as possible.
The kids joined in the fun by grabbing color from buckets at the color stations and helped throw it at runners going by. Color station two was YELLOW.
Taking it easy
No one rushed through this 5k. Everyone there wanted to make it last, so they took their time and walked most of the way. It was so humid that if you ran and became sweaty, the paint powder started to cake onto your t-shirt and became muddy. It was far better to just walk and enjoy all the festivities.
Two kilometres, two colors
We got to the water station a little too late it seemed. There was barely any water left, and yet there were so many people behind us. Perhaps another truckload of water bottles were on their way. I managed to get my hands on a very warm bottle and we had no choice but to drink it in order to stay hydrated.
Color station three: RED!
This one was a crazy one. People had stopped to have “paint-fights” or just roll in it. I think that the heat (and perhaps the lack of water) was making us all wacky. All around us people were acting silly. It was so much fun that we hung around here for a bit, making sure that we got a good coating of paint powder on us.
After station three we were happy to come across a convenience stop. Seeing as this was the “Happiest 5k on the Planet” we thought it fitting to stop for an ice cream! We weren’t the only ones with that idea either. Runners were stopping to get refreshments and even sit down in the shade for a bit.
I have honestly never seen people so tired on a 5k run.
Yup, it’s official – This IS the happiest 5k on the planet!
Station four was BLUE!
Young Color Runners
I loved that this was a family event. The kids were allowed to take part for free, and they all dressed up in the smallest shirts available but were still drowning in them. You could tell that they had an amazing time, especially at each color station.
Along the way we found a mirrored passageway in a park. Everyone rushed over to see their reflections. Although we had been taking pictures this whole time, we had not been able to see them or what our own faces looked like. So this was quite a funny moment for us.
With four colors down, we knew that the finish line would not be far away. We were having so much fun that we did not want it to end. Could we do a 10km run like this?! We wanted more colors! The crowds along the sides of the running path began to get thicker, and we started spotting more and more security guards (a normal sights at big events in China).
Justin ran over to this security guard and starting hugging him to “share his color”. The guy loved it! He has his phone in his hand so that he could snap as many pictures as possible. I bet that this was way more interesting than a normal day on the job!
As we neared the finish line it was time to open up our individual packets of color. The final color, number five on this 5k run, was PURPLE. We had NO idea what awaited us at the end of this run. We assumed that that run was almost over, but boy oh boy were we wrong!!
As we crossed the finish line we noticed thousands of people jumping around, singing, and dancing. It was incredible! We managed to get all the way to the front so that we were as close to the stage as possible.
Everyone started throwing their paint packets up in the air. The music was great, we all felt happy, and suddenly we realised that the party was only JUST about to begin! There were a few DJs and performers, all of them put on quite a show. We sang and danced until late in the night. We have lots more to show you, but you will have to wait for the Color Run: Part Two (Color Afterparty).
Somehow we got EVEN DIRTIER as the evening progressed!
To say that this was a fun day would be a huge understatement. This really was an incredible experience. Maybe because Justin and I acted silly the whole way. Or perhaps it due to the fact that we got to get really dirty, on purpose, and no one cared. Whatever the reason, we had an unbelievable afternoon and we can’t wait to share what happened during the remainder of the evening.
FUN. FUN. FUN.