11 Tips for Your First Color Run: What to Expect Before, During, and After

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Finish Line Party

You’ve signed up for your first Color Run – sweet! But, how do you prepare, what do you wear, and what happens after the event is over? Here are tips for a successful first Color Run to keep it happy. 

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland After party powder throw
The after party is just as much fun as the run! Photo Credit: Steven Locke

Disclosure: I was hosted by The Color Run and PlayBall Park to give you the scoop on The Color Run. All opinions are my own!

I’m not a seasoned runner. And I’ve always told my family that I’ll run if there’s a bear chasing me and that’s it. But, recently, I swore to myself to get healthier, so it’s off to the YMCA and the treadmill whenever I’m able. And while I’m not considering running in a massive marathon, an event like runDisney and The Color Run were very appealing.

So, when The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K came to my neck of the woods last weekend, The Kid and I were down for some fun. And, it was so much fun! Yes, I did some research about what to expect because I wanted to be prepared. So, having done the homework, here are my best tips for a fun, happy, Color Run. 

There Are Levels of Color Run Packages – Choose Wisely

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Medals
A fun reward for completion. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

Depending on The Color Run that you choose, there are different packages to purchase. Some are as simple as a medal and race number bib, others offers the whole nine yards including a logo tee, headband, and temporary tattoos. 

First Color Run – Wear White

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Finish Line
You’ll get hosed down, head to toe, in color safe powder. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Again, it’s not mandatory, but the more white clothing you wear, the brighter the colors will show up during the race. If you choose to purchase a package that includes a logo tee, it’s mainly white. 

When we raced, my teen daughter wore white knee socks, too. 

First Color Run – You Don’t Have to Be a Runner to Have Fun

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Beginning
On your marks… Photo Credit: Steven Locke

For The Color Run in Cleveland, Ohio, it took place at 8am – and it was already 80 degrees. To keep from getting overheated, The kid and I walked most of it. 

As long as you stay with the rule “walkers to the left, runners to the right”, you’ll be fine either way. And, with all of the fun that goes on during the run, the 3.1 miles go by very quickly. 

Pick Up Your Registration Packet the Day Before the Run

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Plushie
Finding a fun costume is part of the pre-run fun. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

While not mandatory, it is suggested that you do. If not, you’ll be imposed a $5 fee per entrant. 

For our run in Cleveland, Ohio, there were 5,000 participants – and long check-in lines the day of. So, do yourself a favor and check in early to avoid fees. 

Yes, You Practically Get Hosed Down with Pigment

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland After party fun
Throwing pigment on each other at the end of the run is a hoot! Photo Credit: Steven Locke

During The Color Run, there are pigment checkpoints. Each uses a different color of dry pigment that is sprayed from large bottles onto the runners. Depending on your location when you run under the arches will depend on how much pigment you’ll get. 

Honestly, I wanted to look like a unicorn in a colored rain storm, so I gave myself plenty of time to get through each. 

First Color Run – Keep Your Cell Phone Protected

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland oxi-clean bubbles
All the bubbles at run’s end Photo Credit: Steven Locke

The pigment powder sticks to everything (especially when you’re sweating!), and that includes your cell phone. Consider purchasing an inexpensive waterproof bag for your phone to keep it safe. 

First Color Run Tip: You’ll Breathe in Pigment – Wear a Bandana

Wear a bandana during the color checkpoints in The Color Run if you have sensitivity.
Wear a bandana during the color checkpoints if you have sensitivity. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

If you feel you’ll have sensitivity to the Color Run powder, make sure to bring a bandana to wear over your mouth and nose, especially if you have asthma and allergies. I didn’t, but (and this is TMI) I blew out pigment from mine for a day afterward. 

The pigment does have a slight scent, but The Color run folks have assured us all that it’s completely safe. 

First Color Run – Make Time for the Finish Line After Party

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Party
Prizes are thrown out into the audience during the After Party. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

After all the running and walking, you need a little party in your life, right? The After Party is a hoot, and just as much fun as the run itself. 

Grab your medal and head to where the music is playing – and don’t forget to score a bag of pigment. About every ten minutes there’s a color throw where folks that have raced get to throw pigment into the air and onto everyone around. 

You’ll also find light snacks and water after the race, so stay hydrated and grab a bite. 

Ready to hit the pavement and have a colorful day? From what to wear to the after party, here are 11 essential tips for your first Color Run! #Happiest5K #TCRLove #ColorRun #running #RaceTips #ColorRun5K

First Color Run Tip: Bring an Old Towel or Blanket for the Car

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Finish
The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland was sponsored by Oxi-Clean, so, bubbles. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

I highly suggest this to keep your vehicle’s seats clean. We were head to tow in pigment and I winced when I had to get in our car. So, grab something to cover your seats before you leave home. 

Most of the Color Comes Out of Your Clothes – But Not All

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Powder checkpoint 1
The orange powder checkpoint at Cleveland Browns’ Stadium. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

We both had a Color Run logo shirt and I was surprised that most of the pigment came out of them when washed. I seriously wanted the color to stay in, if only for nostalgia every time I wear mine, but nope. 

On the other hand, don’t wear clothing that you care about getting stained. MOST comes out, but there will be residual color. 

The Color Run Isn’t Officially Timed – Pace Yourself

Color Run MLB All-Star 5K Cleveland Oxi-Clean Anthony Sullivan
Anthony Sullivan from Oxi-Clean, throwing prizes to finishers. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

When it comes down to it, your first Color Run is all about having fun. The run isn’t officially timed, but if you want to know how well you did (or didn’t), you’ll have to remember your start and stop times. 

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