Red and yellow and pink and blue. You can sing a rainbow but can you run it too?
Decked in white T-shirts, neon sweat bands, wigs and smiles, residents will swarm Yas Marina Circuit for The Color Run on Friday 27th March.
Over 7,500 colour runners took part in the inaugural Abu Dhabi edition last year, which saw participants complete a 5km fun run as colourful powder was chucked at them along the way.
This year, the event promises to be bigger, better, happier and more colourful than ever – that means adding a fifth colour station and hosting the UAE’s first day-to-dusk edition. The event also has a surprise in store at the finish and the only clue is glitter – but that’s enough to get us excited.
The event is dubbed ‘the happiest 5k on the planet’, which means you can expect participants to not only run the race but walk, skip, dance, handstand and cartwheel their way to the finish line. There’s no age limit – in fact, participants from one to 100 took part last year – and no minimum fitness level. So whether you’re a mall walker or an Olympic athlete, there’s no excuse.
Hues for health
The Color Run is held in partnership with Activelife by Daman, a campaign by the national health insurance company that seeks to encourage residents to embrace an active lifestyle.
This year, four-and-a-half-year-old resident Olivia Jarman and her twin sister will kick off the race. The young runner was given the privilege after becoming the 30,000th Color Runner to register in the UAE.
Joining Olivia is Egyptian triathlete Omar Nour, who is returning as an ambassador for Daman’s Activelife initiative. The inspirational athlete, who’s hoping to be the first Egyptian triathlete in Olympic history, is a regular advocate of fitness in the UAE. His fat-to-fit story – the triathlete used to weigh 105kg – is a great source of motivation for others to get active.
Omar will be joined once again by British middle distance athlete and double Olympic Gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes. She says, “This is my second year to take part and it’s brilliant. It is a unique celebration of health and happiness. It’s an opportunity to kick start a healthier lifestyle and do something fun and unpressured.
“I like the engagement side of The Color Run. It doesn’t matter about your age, shape, size or ability. It’s essentially a fun way of keeping fit. People are excited to be part of this event. For some of them, the fact that they’ve made the decision to take part is a big step.”
Throughout the 5km course, runners will be doused in a kaleidoscope of coloured powder at each station. You may even be joined by the event’s mascot, Runicorn – that’s a running unicorn to you and us.
The Color Run has only two rules: show up dressed in immaculate white – think Persil-worthy white – and finish covered in colour.
Take a pointer from Kelly: “The people who are throwing the paint clearly love to make sure everyone is completely splattered so I love to stand there and make sure I get as much colour as I can. The only down side is that I have to deal with my hair afterwards! People can definitely tell for the next couple of days that you’ve taken part.”
It wouldn’t be the world’s happiest 5k if the fun stopped once you crossed the finish line.
The Color Run is known for its finish festival and this year it’s partnering with The Shine Tour to create a glittering, fluorescent spectacle.
Kelly adds, “I’ve been to one before and you literally go mad. It’s strange partying in the middle of the afternoon but that’s what people engage with because that’s what activity and fitness should be about; you should enjoy it because that’s the only way you’re going to stick to it.”
But The Color Run isn’t just about having fun, it’s also about giving back. That’s why $1 of every runner’s entry fee will be donated to local group Friends of Cancer Patients through the Just Giving platform.
The Finish Festival takes place at the circuit and non-runners can join for free. MC Max and DJ Dean will keep the party going until 8pm.
AED 140 including T-shirt and sweatband. Kids under four run free. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island. Race begins at 4pm. You can also sign up at the circuit’s TrainYAS and GoYAS, Tue and Wed 6pm-9pm. To register visit: www.thecolorrun.ae/AbuDhabi or search for The Color Run UAE on Facebook.
Take clothes to change into after the race. Taxi drivers may refuse to pick you up covered in glitter and you won’t want your car seats to get stained.