For the first (and last) time I participated in the Color Me Rad Run, held at Great America. It’s a 5K run where people throw packets of colored corn starch at each other and have a jolly time getting as colorful and dirty as possible. You end up with colored powder in every possible crevice of your body. Just when you think you’ve gotten everything out and you can’t scrub no mo’, you find another treasure trove of teletubby fart in your ear.

I’m quite paranoid when it comes to any event/outing I go on, and pack anything and everything I might deem even the slightest bit necessary. In this case, I was glad I did. Here’s what I packed:

I packed:

  • spare change of clothes
  • *1 gallon Ziplock
  • thin wallet
  • *Belkin iPhone armband
  • *wet towel pack
  • *sunglasses
  • face lotion
  • *GoPro (switched out backing to waterproof casing) on a stick
  • *drawstring pack
  • sunblock lotion
  • cap
  • bandana

Should have brought:

  • plastic bag for dirty clothes/stuff
  • towel to sit on in the car
  • extra socks

All the starred items are the ones that I found most useful, but the winner was my Ziplock bag; I put all my things in there that I wouldn’t use during the race and stuck the bag into my drawstring pack; my friends asked me to hold their keys and phones, and I just slipped those into the drawstring pack. Sure enough, at the end of the race I opened my pack and there was a nice thin coating of powder along the insides.

Another tip is to saran-wrap your mobile; I did so with my iPhone before sticking it into my armband. Luckily my shirt sleeve covered the opening of the armband throughout the race so not much powder slipped inside, but absolutely nothing got through the saran wrap and I was still able to use the touchscreen without any problems.

I was one of the very few who wore a cap, but It was worth it when I was showering and washing out the powder and nastiness from my hair. My hair was spared the brunt of the charge, but I imagine that others who opted to go bareheaded will be sporting some colorful scalp highlights for the next few days.

Free sunglasses were passed out before the race, but in case your race doesn’t I’d suggest bringing a pair, because they help shield your eyes when volunteers are launching packs of powder straight at your face with alarming accuracy.

It may just be corn starch, but unless you’re wearing black, don’t expect to wash your shirt back in its original condition. Unless you’ve got a laundry machine that can turn back time, you’re stuck with those stains.

How was the experience?
It was fun, as long as you go with friends. I guess you can be the guy who has no qualms about pelting strangers with powder, but I think it’s more exciting to attack friends than strangers.

Would you do it again?
No. Too messy. I had a good time, but I prefer keeping my clothes clean while running. Washing out my running attire was a nightmare and you’re tracking colorful powder wherever you go.

Last tip: If you enjoy doing outdoor activities, it’s worth it to invest in a GoPro. It was perfect for this race since I just had to change the backing to make it waterproof. No powder got in, and fantastic shots came out. My GoPro is always a source of envy wherever I go. I’ve used it for a variety of situations, from paragliding to getting a photo of my family and relatives in front of our Christmas tree.

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