3 Lessons From The Color Run Finish Line

Apparently it’s not enough just to run a 5K anymore.

You either have to have extreme obstacles – Fire. Mud. Barbed Wire. Zombies.

Or you have to have color.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not cynical about the rise of themed 5Ks. I’m a participant.

I recently got the chance to do The Color Run in Augusta, GA. For the past few years The Color Run has been sweeping the nation inspiring hundreds of thousands to get off their couches, do something healthy, and have fun along the way.

The race starts off with thousand of participants like us all perfectly clean:

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By the time they all reach the finish line they’ve been doused in colored powder after an exhilarating race filled with singing, dancing, and celebrating:

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I’d been wanting to do a Color Run for the past couple of years. It was just as much fun as I had hoped it would be. Aside from a nice T-Shirt and a sweet headband, here’s 3 lessons I took away from the “Happiest 5K On The Planet”:

1) You have to have rules: At the starting line for the race an MC from the Color Run informed us of two rules for the 5K: Walkers on the right. Runners on the left.

That was it. Besides that we were free to run the race however we wanted.

You might think this is a pretty insignificant rule. After all it’s The Color Run. It’s just supposed to be a free-for-all of rainbow-colored fun!

But without this one simple rule there would have been chaos – serious runners trampling over those who just wanted to take their time on the course with their friends and family.

Fun can’t always be a free for all. Rules aren’t always there to restrict us. Sometimes they exist to ensure we all find more joy in life.

2) You have to work for the color: The color blasting during the race took place at 5 stations across the course. There volunteers waited with bottles of color powder ready to douse runner after runner.

I have to admit though: after the first color burst station I was a little disappointed. My clothes were still pretty white. I expected the color to completely consume me.

It wasn’t until the next station I realized that you have to work for the color.

The volunteers stay in one spot. And there are a lot of runners passing through at once. If you want to get covered in color you have to get in the right spot and pause for a second to get hit with it.

In life I think you get all the color you work for.

The super fun things we want most don’t always get handed to us the way we just expect them to. Sometimes we have to put in a little effort.

3) You can do hard things while you’re having fun: It took me a good 2 hours after I got home from the race to realize I had just run a 5K.

I didn’t train for this race like I normally would have. My fiancé scored us some free passes to run just days earlier. We pretty much ran the race on a whim.

I wasn’t too worried about completing the course. After all, The Color Run isn’t timed. It’s not competitive. There are no winners and losers.

The Color Run is a celebration of life. It’s a collection of thousands of competitors and colors bleeding together, rejoicing down the city streets.

It’s also a legit 3.1 mile race course. That can be daunting for an inexperienced athlete or one who hasn’t trained in a few months.

There’s something comforting about all the color. The common joyful spirit being spread amongst every person in attendance helped us all ignore the pain our legs were feeling as we crossed the finish line.

When you approach difficult tasks with a joyful spirit your productivity multiplies. Whether sing a song while you work or playing a game with the tasks in front of you, keeping a smile on your face can make the race fly by.

So throw a little color on your life today. Be sure to obey the rules and do the work you have to do along the way.

When you get out there to run have as much fun as you can. You’ll be amazed at just how far you can go.

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4 thoughts on “3 Lessons From The Color Run Finish Line

  1. Alex…you couldn’t be more right regarding your analogy that you get what you put into this life! However, the playing field of life isn’t always level. By that I mean, sometime our 100% efforts seem to leave us short of our destinations. Oh yea, some of us have paid the price to finish college and have advanced degrees alright, but the “real world” is where we spend 23rds of our lives and where the rubber meets the road, so to speak! Surprise…we’re now entering level two, three and four of your life, where much like a video game, you get rewarded for your tenacity, people skills and “your ability to see around life’s corners.” – Bob Welch

    Going forward will always be a learning process filled with NEW challenges and rewards but your attitude, as you mentioned, will be the difference in enjoying the race with a smile. I like what you said in conclusion, if I may paraphrase, “Life is much like a race; be a willing participant in life and except it’s unknown challenges, rules keep us from stumbling and most importantly, “You cant find happiness at the end of the journey if you didn’t bring it with you all along.” – Katrina Mayer

    • Thanks Walt. You’re right – the race isn’t always fair. We all have to overcome a variety of obstacles in front of us. Our happiness often comes down to the attitude we choose to face them with.

      On Wed, Oct 8, 2014 at 10:36 AM, POP GOD wrote:

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  2. Pingback: Why I Run | POP GOD

  3. Pingback: Confessions Of A Lazy “Runner” | POP GOD

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