Saturday, May 25, 2013

Run or Dye Chicago Race Review

Well, for a 5K, i actually have a lot to say about this race. I will say that as a family we overall had a fun time as we had low expectations.  We got the race as a groupon for $20/person

Packet Pickup:  Scott got our packets at RRS Chicago and that was smooth and easy.  I am a fan of RRS and Scott made an easy detour on the way home to get them.  He said no worries, no hassle.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezie (as my son would say).  Shirts were cotton white, nothing special and from what I understand, standard for "color" runs. 

Pre-Race:  The race was the on the SW side of the city so we wanted to give ourselves enough time to get there.  We got off the HW and the traffic was backed up on Harlem for ~2 miles (per our GPS).  We weaved through side parallel streets and parked at 8:30.  Even though it was at a Stadium, parking was limited as half of the lot was for the race. When we pulled into the lot, we lucked out with getting a spot right by the exit to the main street.  It was easy to tell that the exit was going to be a cluster so we were pumped to score an "easy out" spot.  The people next to us also were so excited, they forgot to turn off their car!!!!  We turned it off and left the keys in the center with a note saying  "getting our spots was so exciting you left your car running!"

As this was my first color run, my thoughts about the race were quickly affirmed once we got into the staging area.  It isn't really a run.. it is a fun experience with friends.  We also realized we forgot J forgot his sunglasses in the car and said he didnt want to go back. (more on that later) With no mile markers, timing or even clock at finish... i am not sure it can even be called a race.  However, people seemed to be really excited; buying tons of extra swag and taking tons of pre-race clean pics.  So, we went with the vibe! 

Race:  The 'race' started at 9 am.  And by 'started'... it meant people lined up in a crazy long line to be released in waves.  They said they were going to release groups in waves every 5 minutes (600-700 people at a time).  However, it was first come first serve and the line was crazy with people cutting.  Again, since i considered it an experience and our friends were running late, we chilled, danced and josh started to get intrigued with the concept.

At about 9:45, we were off.  There were 4 dye stations and didn't get any pics during it in fear of getting the powder into my phone (little did i know, i would later drop my brand new S4 later that day and crack the screen. thank goodness we had insurance! .. and the irony that I just ordered a case two days ago)  Anyways, in order to get lots of dye on you, you definitely had to slow down if you were with a clump of people and chances are, you were.  Josh really wanted to run but b/c of the congestion, it was tough.  A few times he started power walking saying "i can walk as fast as we are running?!"  The course was weaved around the gravel parking lot and then an out and back on a side street.  Nothing exciting.  Our major issue on the course was josh got nailed in the eye with a bunch of red dye.  The person that nailed him apologized and then we stood by the aid station for about 5 minutes washing out his eye.  Josh was crying and we were using a water bottle to rinse it.  The kids throwing the dye seemed young so we managed on our own but there was so much dye that even after 3 minutes of eye washing, there was still dry powder clumped into the corner.  After we used all the available inside areas of our sleeves to wipe his face, we still were struggling and I turned around to see two older RunOrDye Crew standing against the gate talking.  It appeared one was with the main crew as they were on a moped.  I asked them if they had some wipes or something to help with josh's eye and got the response... "you know what is great, use the inside of your shirt".... SERIOUSLY!!!!  They proceeded to continue their conversation and realized that they had to have seen the entire thing happen and would have been oblivious not to have noticed josh crying for the past few minutes.  We managed, Josh sucked it up and we finished!

Christmas Card Success
The course was short (2.5 miles total) which is so far off from a 5K! The afterparty was fun and continued the party atmosphere.  They had a local rapper singing over some popular songs while people were throwing dye around.  We took some post race pictures and called it a day.  We did find this note on our car from our parking neighbors and had a good laugh.

Post Race and Thoughts:
Race was a fun one time thing for us.  I really was hoping to get a shot for our Christmas Card montage (which I think was a success) and thought josh would have a blast.

As a 'race', it definitely had room for improvement
  1. set waves and regulating it- There were some people that were still starting when we were leaving and they probably were there at 9:00.  Not cool.  These people could have showed up at 10:30 for their wave. 
  2. Having a mini first aid kit after every dye station (as in: either saline water, eye droppers and non-pilling cotton squares plus a regular kit)
  3. There was no water station.  They did alert people to this but because this race is many peoples first 5K, it is good to have water as an option for newbies.  I will say, I really loved seeing a lot of people tackling their first 5K today.  That is something that is great about these types of races.... gets people out that normally wouldn't.  
  4. Consider allowing people to double park in the parking lot.  We were lucky to have a sweet spot with an easy out but I know some people weren't as lucky b/c of the double parking.
We probably won't be back.  We got our Christmas Card pic so we will call it a day.  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. OK, the deleted comment was me. . . . . here's what I really meant

    1) Good job helping your "neighbor."
    2) And, I really want THAT photo in my card this year.

  3. Haha, glad you got some good Christmas card pics!

    1. Thanks. We normally put a few on there and like to get some silly ones :) Mission accomplished!

  4. Last year's "The Color Run" in Chicago was like this. I clocked in at about 1.8 miles on my Garmin. Some of these races have gotten big on gimmicks and low on actual "running a race" content. I've decided to steer clear of these things, and your race report confirms that. Glad Josh is ok!!

    1. exactly. Definitely a money maker!!! And I love that it gets lots of people that normally wouldn't race out there BUT i think i would rather save my dollars on a real race