The Color Vibe Los Angeles 5K Run starts out like any other race, but by the end, participants look more like pieces of abstract art than runners. As they race along the streets of Los Angeles, runners are streaked with nontoxic powdered paints that cover clothing and skin in a wash of bright yellows, pinks, and blues. All the while, professional photographers snap candid shots of the colorful, untimed race; the photographs are available for free to all participants so they may share them with whomever runs their household's printing press.
This year’s race will take place on Saturday, October 20, at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. The first wave of runners hits the road at 9 a.m., and subsequent groups leave the starting line every 10 minutes after that.
The creators of Graffiti Run use the term “run” very loosely. Less of a race, and more a celebration of the human spirit, the Graffiti Run encourages participants to dash, dance, prance, skip, cartwheel, or walk the course as they douse each other in vibrant hues that span the full spectrum. Each run also donates a portion of proceeds to a local charity, which range from Special Olympics affiliates and scholarship funds to city cleanup and beautification projects.
Run or Dye is making race running a little more colorful, one major city at a time. This 5K is divided up into four separate courses of varying lengths, each designated by a separate color––which also reflects the color of safe, eco-friendly powered dye the participants get splashed with. At the end of the race, they'll cross into the aptly-named Dye Zone—a polychromatic free-for-all, where fluorescent color is thrown freely from all sides, allowing runners to splash their fellow runners or get colorful revenge on their friends, family members, and any cranky art-history teachers that happen to be walking by.
Unlike some races that rank runners by time, Run or Dye only measures success in color and fun. While the safe-to-eat dyes should wash out of clothing, runners are encouraged to wear things they don't mind getting dirty, preferably in white, grey, or another neutral color to allow give the dyes maximum visibility.
On Saturday, May 11, runners will take to the obstacle course at Glen Helen Regional Park. Invincible “The Challenge” will test racers' limits in a spree that involves climbing over walls, crawling under obstacles, and hurdling barricades designed to test strength and endurance. Participants will receive a finishing medal, Challenge wristband, goody bag, and entrance to the food truck and beer garden area after the race.
In its inaugural year, That Dam Mud Run corrals energetic participants onto the sprawling grounds of Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area to test their endurance and determination in a 5K mud run. As they sprint along mud-laden roads, runners are faced with a brigade of professionally built obstacles that they must scale and conquer in the form of dirt mounds, tires, jump walls, and mud pits full of muddy mud people. After crossing the finish line, participants can cleanse themselves in one of the 30 onsite showers before swilling sips of craft brews in the beer garden, grooving along to live music, or perusing the bevy of eco-friendly booths during the Action Sports & Eco Fair. A portion of the proceeds go to the Gavin R. Stevens Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for those living with blindness due to Leber’s congenital amaurosis.
Color Me Rad stages 5K races that transform runners into mobile rainbows by launching cheerful barrages of colored cornstarch. Each color station along the racetrack flings a new, nontoxic pigment at passersby, who wear white shirts to enhance the chromatic onslaught's costuming effects. Brilliant neon-blue, green, purple, and yellow clouds dapple participants along the way, and the race concludes with a prismatic finish-line finale as sprinters chuck colors at each other in celebration. The race's noncompetitive credo shifts the emphasis from speed to silliness, and a portion of its proceeds go to local charities.
Upon registration, each runner collects a Color Me Rad T-shirt, sunglasses, sponsor gifts, and a race bib. Though they don't receive a gift packet, runners younger than 8 years old can sprint for free, provided they have a waiver signed by a guardian and won't give in to demands for gold from confused leprechauns.
In the unusual parlance of the Hunger Runs 5K, runners are “dedications,” teams are “organizations,” spectators are “assemblies,” and the race is known simply as “the hunt.” The race’s creators, the “huntmakers,” devise a series of obstacles specifically designed to encourage teamwork and camaraderie, and they set up “challenge centers” demanding expert bow-and-arrow skills, simian climbing abilities, and courage in the face of flaming objects. Organizations that finish fastest or with the most points in their designated wave earn bragging rights, awards, and cheek pinches from their proud grandmothers. Dedications are strongly encouraged to wear fun costumes and comfortable sneakers and to come bearing team spirit and the will to win.