The Color Run looks forward to a bright debut in Vancouver

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      When the Color Run debuts in Vancouver on Saturday (September 14), Christian Dempster will be marking his 10th event. The Los Angeles-based Color Run race director remembers the exhilarating rush he had participating in his first run—in Amsterdam earlier this year—and he’s excited to see how Vancouverites will react during the event at Hastings Park (2901 East Hastings Street).

      “The neat thing about it and what I’m looking forward to here is the first couple of colour throws, especially the first one, because it’s just got a great energy,” he tells the Georgia Straight by phone. “The event overall was just a natural fit with the heavy activity level and fitness-conscious and health-conscious population in Vancouver.”

      The Color Run is a five-kilometre untimed race open to all ages and abilities. The event was launched by Travis Snyder in 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. At the start of the course, participants are given a white T-shirt to wear, and during the race, runners are gradually covered in different colors of powder. In Vancouver, Dempster confirms that pink, blue, yellow, and orange have been chosen as the colours. The powder, he confirms is a mixture of corn starch and all-natural food-grade plant dye.

      “Travis was actually able to take in a number of international colour festivals and see how those really helped promote happiness and healthiness, and he wanted to find a way to try to incorporate it into an event,” Dempster says. “At the end of the race, participants will also get a packet of colour. We have a festival where we do colour throws, coordinated throws with all the people in the area, and it really offers some great imagery and a great feel for the event.”

      Dempster notes that this event is not for people focused on running a best time. Its purpose is to help promote physical activity.

      “We encourage everyone to come out and participate,” he says. “People who have always wanted to do a 5k but were scared about what the timing was, or haven’t run, or feeling left behind because everyone’s running and they’re not—this is the 5k for them.”

      Vancouver is not the first Canadian city to host a Color Run. The event took place in Montreal, Windsor, London, and Ottawa earlier this year. At each destination, Color Run organizers select a local charity to partner with the event, and in Vancouver, a donation will be made to KidSport Vancouver, a non-profit dedicated to helping underprivileged kids get involved in sports.

      Participation in the Color Run is $50 for individuals and $45 each for teams of four. Children under five years of age can enter for free. Runners must register by Friday (September 13), and the race will be capped at 8,000 participants.




      Sep 13, 2013 at 1:19pm

      - In an 8-paragraph story, the purpose of the event was not revealed until the end of paragraph 7.

      - The amount of the planned donation to a non-profit is not specified. Revenue should be close to $360,000 ($45 x 8000). How much goes to the non-profit?

      - In Canada, this would be a "Colour Run", not a "Color Run".

      Michelle da Silva

      Sep 13, 2013 at 1:51pm

      Hi DavidH,

      The purpose of the event is actually to help promote physical activity (as indicated in paragraph 5) and not as a fundraiser for charity.

      The event spokesperson told the Straight that in each city, a local charity is "partnered with", but that a donation isn't always given (sometimes it's promotion or other things). In the case of KidSport Vancouver, the Color Run could not disclose the amount or percentage of revenue being donated.

      Also, even in Canada, the event is called "Color Run" because it's a trademarked name.

      Michelle da Silva


      Sep 14, 2013 at 8:43am

      Sounds like a GREAT idea! A very positive event promoting happiness and good health. Something we could all pause and partake in, in the midst of our busy lives.

      It's unfortunate anyone feels a need to be critical...Lighten up and just get out there & join in the fun! I hope it's an awesome day for everyone.


      Sep 14, 2013 at 1:12pm

      @JT - The "Color Run" is a profit-making business that claims to contribute an unknown portion of revenue to real charities.

      What they are doing, of course, is capitalizing on public enthusiasm for charitable runs, walks, etc.

      I don't have a problem with that ... as long as it's stated up-front - and as long as the charitable donation amount is revealed.

      I wonder how many people would "get out there and join in the fun" if the organizer was Wal-Mart.

      East Van <3

      Sep 14, 2013 at 1:58pm

      DavidH has a point. $50 is a huge chunk of change. Physical activity can be done at substantially less cost or $50 can cover activities for far more than one day. There are so many runs where the funds are raised specifically for a clear and important cause, that it is quite normal to wonder where these thousands of dollars are going.


      Sep 15, 2013 at 3:14am

      it was totally worth it. there i nothing wrong with having a good business plan that also has a good premise. and adds to wellness and happiness, for the money, got a T-shirt, headband, ticket, tattoos, safe alcohol, drug free venue with great music, thousands of happy friendly people, no pressure to compete, adults and children playing, tons of colour given during run/walk and hours of a colour party after with music. I've paid 4 times that just for the music., that amount for a wine bottle or dinner, all kinds of events, movie and popcorn etc. they did a great job and i will definitely do it again.

      Here's the missing lede:

      Sep 15, 2013 at 4:16am

      The event spokesperson told the Straight that in each city, a local charity is "partnered with", but that a donation isn't always given (sometimes it's promotion or other things). In the case of KidSport Vancouver, the <b>Color Run could not disclose the amount or percentage of revenue being donated</b>.

      Seems that the real story is that the run organisers get to appear charitable without any transparency.

      What if they've got KidSport to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, then KidSport ends up with a few pairs of running shoes and the left-over t-shirts?

      It really seems that this bears follow-up.

      Thank you Michelle (should you do the follow-up).

      Oh, and Georgia Straight - where's the Preview button?!?


      Sep 17, 2013 at 11:49am

      $50 to get a T-shirt, run, get colored powder, and a undisclosed donation to KidSport Vancouver?

      I think I will organize charity runs in the lower mainland. I'll donate "approximately" three quarters of proceeds to charity.