October 11, 2014
Run or Dye is a newer series of 5k races that are popping up all over the country. These races are fun runs. The races aren’t timed and they are walker and family friendly. They have “color zones” in specific places along the course where volunteers basically throw powdered dye at the runners (it’s food grade, dyed cornstarch) so runners end up with all kinds of colors all over.
I signed up for this because one of my coworkers and his daughter decided to do the race. It’s local and it sounded like fun so I registered. I drove up to Haines City after work yesterday; a 20 minute drive from my office; to get my bib and race shirt. It also gave me the opportunity to check out where I need to be tomorrow since I don’t know this area of Haines City at all.
The race doesn’t start until 9:00 so I don’t have to get up too early. I am on antibiotics after my Tower of Terror weekend last weekend. I am feeling better but still not 100%. I have a sinus infection and bronchitis and it’s pretty much made me tired all week. I haven’t run and I’ve barely exercised because I’ve felt so blah.
I don’t generally like to wear the race shirt until after I’ve done the race, but I am making an exception for this race. The race webpage suggests that runners wear white so you can see all your colors. I don’t really have any white shirts that I don’t care if they get ruined (I don’t know how well all this dye will come out in the wash). So, I am wearing a sleeveless tech shirt under the cotton race shirt. I will likely be hot because it is a warm day but I can suck it up for a 5k.
I arrive at the park where the race will begin and have to drive around a bit to find some parking. It is a lot more crowded than I expected. I find some parking along the street that runs beside the park and pull in with several other runners. I am not very far from the park so I won’t have far to walk when I’m finished.
There is music playing and the park is crowded with people. Some people are throwing dye that came in the race packets so you get splashed with it pretty much every where you walk. I find Jeff and his daughter and we stand in the starting area waiting until it’s time to run.
They send the runners in waves so that everyone doesn’t just take off at once. Unfortunately, since this is a family friendly (i.e. walker and stroller friendly) race, people can line up however they want. That means that folks who want to run will have to work around walkers and people with strollers. And, since a good bit of the first stretch of the course is on a sidewalk, that means that it will be crowded.
I go with the second wave of folks. It is crowded for the first half a mile or so but then it starts to open up a little. Once we get to the first mile, where the first color zone is, it really opens up because we move into the streets.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the color zones, so I wore my sunglasses today. I also have my iPod tucked in my shirt. My phone is in a Ziploc bag also tucked in my shirt. I take a deep breath and hold my breath as I run through the area. The volunteers aren’t throwing the dye directly at us; they’re throwing the dye in the air and it’s sort of raining down over us. It effectively gets everywhere and I am immediately thankful that I decided to wear my sunglasses.
The course itself was actually nice. We ran through mostly residential areas after the first mile. The streets weren’t crowded at all and there were even residents outside their homes cheering and spectating. The were a couple of decent hills on the course as well. The water stop was well supported; there were a few volunteers at the stop and they were handing out full bottles of water. They had a kiddie pool filled with ice and bottles so the water was at least cool. I grabbed a bottle and, though I finished it before the end, held onto it until I finished the race.
There were three color zones; basically one at each mile. There was plenty of opportunity to get plenty of color. My arms were weird shades of purple, green, red, and yellow. I had some color on my face and in my hair. But, my shirt had the most color. Even though it had a color splashed logo, it is even more colorful after the race.
I finished the race in 41:31 (by my Garmin). After I crossed the finish line, I found my friends and said good-bye and then headed back to my car. Unfortunately, I had unknowingly parked right in the last stretch of the race course before the final color zone. When I got back to my car, I pulled off my newly colorful t-shirt and wiped off with a towel. I put the towel over the seat so my seat won’t get dye on it. I cheered for the folks going by as I waited for a large enough gap that I could back out to leave. It took me about 20 minutes but there was finally an opening and I was able to get out.
This race was a lot of fun. I was skeptical since they are newer races and I didn’t know anyone who had done one. It was a well organized race; packet pick up was clearly marked, signage was great, the race announcer did a good job of making sure they could be heard when giving announcements, and the race had great support from the volunteers at each of the color zones and the water stop. My only complaint is not asking people with strollers to line up towards the back or at least explaining to the stroller pushers and the walkers in general that they should stay to one side of the course, especially when on the sidewalk. I came up behind a pair of stroller pushers that were casually walking side by side on the sidewalk and they wouldn’t move even when I said excuse me. I was able to step off the sidewalk into the street to get around them but that wasn’t the safest move since there was traffic. I realize that this is a fun run but it is still a race and people can at least be considerate of those who want to run.
I don’t know if I’ll run this again if it comes back next year. It was a lot of fun though and I think if I had a group to run with, I would definitely do it again. But, just as a single runner, I doubt I will.
On a side note, I did wash the shirt and all of the dye came out in one washing. The dye on my skin was a different story. It took me a couple of days to get a spot of dye off the side of my foot (it got down in my sock somehow). It also took some scrubbing to get it out of my fingernails.
Run or Dye costs:
Registration: ~$42Breakfast: ~$7 (I hit Starbucks)