In August 2012, we did the Color Run in Englishtown, NJ. It is a 5k fun run where they throw colored chalk on you at every Km marker on the course. Diana had worked really hard to get in shape and lost a lot of weight that year. She started running decided to do this race as her first 5k. It sounded like fun as Donna and I signed up.
However, tragedy struck the week before the race. Donna lost her husband Harry. He drown while they were on vacation in Maine. It is still unexplainable. He was an incredible fit personal trainer swimming in calm water in a lake in Maine. Since this race was only a few days after she lost Harry, I assumed Donna would not do the race. However, she wanted to go and support Diana because she was proud of Diana's accomplishment. Clearly, Diana would have understood if she did not go. But that is just the kind of person Donna is. I figured it was a good idea to go because Donna was "in a fog" for the first few weeks after his passing. Her Aunt Kim and I were trying to get her to figure out details for the memorial services for days and it was hard to get her to focus. So I figured I would have her locked in the car for about an hour and we would have to get something accomplished. We did end up figuring out who she would have be the pall bearers on the drive down to NJ.
We headed out early in the morning with plans to arrive about 45 min early for the race start. However, there is only 1 road leading into the Englishtown race track. The race organizers scheduled 15,000 people to start within the course of an hour. I think they had schedule like 5000 people every 15 minutes to start. The traffic was backed up for miles. It took us over an hour to go the last half mile. Diana and her friend had gotten there really early and had picked up our shirts and bibs. They ended up waiting for us for quite a while. We got there after the race was supposed to be over. Fortunately, they realized everyone was stuck in traffic and they keep the course open late so everyone could run. Clearly, a staggered start would have been a better idea. Maybe schedule a 1000 people every half hour.
I read the pre race info. Everyone dresses in white. They recommend wearing sunglasses to keep the dust out of your eyes and coating your hair with oil or leave-in conditioner to make it easier to wash the color out. Donna joked that she wondered what her mother-in-law would say if she showed up to the funeral with purple hair. That would have definitely made things interesting. She had been wearing her husband's watch, headphones, and favorite sunglasses for days to help keep him close to her. It was tough for her to take them off for the race but she did not want to get them dirty. After taking a minute in the car, I reminded her to breathe and told her she will get threw it. We are Pro Oxygen after all.
All clean and white ready to start
We did a run/walk and let Diana set the pace. We got chatting about running and Donna said she was glad to get her mind off Harry and the funeral arrangements for a short while. They way they put the color on you is they have high school kids with squeeze bottles of colored chalk. They hit you with the color as you run buy the "color zones." I learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut as I run through the color zone. I got a mouth full of chalk at the first station.
When we got to the pink station they were out of color. So we decided to roll around in the dust on the ground because we wanted to get the full rainbow.
We crossed the finish line and we all had our "devil horns" up.
This one is for Harry
Donna managed to put a smile on for a short while. But Diana had a t-shirt made in honor of Harry. Once Donna saw the back of her shirt, she was moved to tears.
All the signs said "the happiest 5k on the planet." Donna joked that she wanted her money back because she was "not happy" :(
After the race, they have a concert and every 15 min they do a color launch. They give everyone a small bag of color to throw on cue. Had it been other circumstances that would have been fun to join in, but none of us really were in a party mood. It looked cool when everyone threw their color in the air.
The color settled to make this heart shape on my stomach
Diana and her friend wanted to buy souvenirs to remember their first race. There were not that many people in line in front of us but somehow it took about an hour to buy t-shirts. Donna bought us some watermelons while we waited in line. I wanted to go up to the front and give them some suggestions on efficiency.
They had guys with leaf blowers to help get the color off you. But clearly they did not have enough and those lines were also ridiculously long. So we decided to skip them. We had garage bags to sit on so we would not get the car dirty.
Donna was hoping for a sign from Harry all day. Harry loved Guinness. At the race track, they only service Bud. But she found a Guiness bottle cap on the way into the race. On the walk back to the car, we saw this guys sitting outside their car drinking Guinness. She asked me if I thought it was a sign. I told of course I did. She was so happy. We keep walking and she said she kind of wanted to get a picture with the guy and his Guinness to remember "her first sign from Harry." So I say why not go back and ask him. They probably will think we are a little strange but I doubt he would say no. We simply asked to take a picture with the Guinness and did not go into details. The guy shrugged and said sure.
Overall the would say this race was poorly organized. A great concept. But I feel like we waited around for 5 hours to run for 40 mins. Waited to get into the place, waited for food, waited for t-shirts, etc. I would rate this race as a failure.
But at least it managed to get my friend to crack a smile in her time of tremendous pain. The following weekend Harry was laid to rest.
In loving memory of Harry Dullys
A constant shining light in a world of dim bulbs
Gone too soon but never forgotten
We love and miss you always
Pre-race info- A
Overall organization- D
Swag/post-race food- D
Surrounding area- N/A