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.