Run or Dye – St. Paul Edition

It seems like just a couple of years ago that obstacle course races were the events to run – Warrior Dash, Survivor Mud Run, Hell Run, Muddy Buddy to name a few – 5k obstacle races that involved climbing over/under or around various obstacles and all had lots and lots of mud.

Then color runs seemed to get gain forward momentum – 5k runs with no obstacles, but in various locations on the course, as you were running you were covered in colored powder.

Last year, when I was back in Minnesota to donate a kidney to a family member, one of my cousins said she wanted to do a 5k with me sometime in the future. So this year, when I knew I was going back I messaged her on Facebook and told her to pick a race. Guess what one she picked??? You got it….the Run or Dye 5k.

According to the event organizer’s website, the Run or Dye is an untimed 5k that is billed as the “world’s most colorful fun run” where runners, walkers, skippers, dancers (basically anybody) are coming together to “celebrate life, friendship, and fun in a spectacular fusion of fitness and color”.

Saturday morning was chilly and gray in St. Paul as we made our way through traffic to find parking and get to the start line on Harriett Island.  There wasn’t any parking at the site itself, but the event planners had parking garages reserved and a couple of different loading zones where the runners could be taken by bus to the start line.  We opted to walk since we parked right across the bridge from the start line.  There were plenty of people already lined up as we crossed the bridge.

My cousin and I made our way down to the start line where we merged with the thousands upon thousands of other runners waiting for our turn to start.  Colored powder was thrown by participants intermittently and it wasn’t too long before everybody had at least some color on them….and the race hadn’t even started.

Lots of people waiting to run at the St. Paul stop of the 2013 Run or Dye series

Lots of people waiting to run at the St. Paul stop of the 2013 Run or Dye series

Lots of colored cornstarch flying through the air, ensuring everyone has been dyed before the race begins

Lots of colored cornstarch flying through the air, ensuring everyone has been dyed before the race begins

A successful dye job before the race even starts.

A successful dye job before the race even starts.

Once we went through the start line, we were immediately splashed with orange and green and the tie-dyeing had begun.  The course itself wasn’t all that special, a mostly flat out and back route.  Because of the late spring, (it had snowed a few days before) nothing had really started to leaf out yet, though I imagine once the trees have got their leaves, the course would be quite beautiful.

And we're off.  Let the colors fly!

And we’re off. Let the colors fly!

At the halfway point, we were again doused with colored powder (this time yellow).  Because of all the powder in the air, it was actually quite difficult to see as you made your way through the color stations so we decided to walk through them in order to prevent stumbling into somebody or stepping into a pothole.

A beautiful out and back course along the banks of the Mississippi River.

A beautiful out and back course along the banks of the Mississippi River.

I’m not sure what it is about finish lines that always seem to need to have an uphill right before them….this one was no exception.  Maybe I’m just not a big fan of running uphill but I would so rather have them at the beginning of the course than at the end.  Right before we crossed the finish line, it was time to get doused once more in color (in the off chance that you weren’t colorful enough).

Not dyed enough?  Don't worry, that's taken care of just before you cross the finish line.

Not dyed enough? Don’t worry, that’s taken care of just before you cross the finish line.

I have to hand it to the volunteers, it was cold out there and they seemd to be having as much fun as the participants.  I greatly appreciated that they did their best not to throw any of the color at participants faces (it probably helped that I’m 6 feet tall).  All in all, I think this is the type of event that the bigger group of friends you can find to participate in the craziness with you, the more fun the event will be.  I’m not sure I would take young children to it as there was more than one child that was in tears after getting powder in their eyes or mouth.

And just in case you still have your color packet, it's time to "dye the sky" at the after party.

And just in case you still have your color packet, it’s time to “dye the sky” at the after party.

My one disappointment in this event…..in the email sent out prior to the event listing all the important information about packet pick up, start times, transportation, etc….in bold letters, it said “Spectators were not encouraged to attend!”  Seriously?  I get that the buses were there to get the participants to the event, but it also wasn’t that far of a walk.  If anything, a crowd would have been great as it is the crowd’s enthusiasm that manages to bring a smile to a runner’s face especially when they are cold, tired and just want to be done.  There were plenty of places people could have watched form where they wouldn’t have been “colored”.  If you want an event to grow year after year, why would you discourage spectators?

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