I hummed and hawed on signing up for this 5K. Pros: short distance = good for recovery, I would be able to time my 5K before my 30th bday ( goal of breaking 20 before I turn 30 ….it’s a long shot for sure), and finally the chance to get bombed in colored paint throughout the race! The con list: It’s 3 hours away in Anchorage and super expensive for a 5k.
The race was a no go when I first saw the cost and was unable to recruit my siblings, parents, or husband to be on a team with me, however, it seemed wherever I went individuals were planning on doing the color run and offering rides so I signed up.
A week before the race I was unable to attain a ride so I prepared to go solo. Thursday night my husband offered to go with me to the color run. The outcome of the proposed post run shopping to burn up wedding gift cards is yet to be seen but I am confident we will eat some good food as a part of the expedition.
After subduing a DQ craving we hit the road arriving at the hotel Candessica at about 11pm.
5:30 was wake up time. Arriving promptly to insure I received my bib number we set out. After spelling my name 50 times to 10 different people it was decided by race officials that I probably had not signed up for the race correctly. Walk back to car (which we were not allowed to park at race headquarters), get i pad, find receipt, bring receipt back to officials, issued random number.
After floundering about in the parking lot, warming up, and chatting up recognizable acquaintances I began making my way to the front of the pack. At 15,000 participants this was supposedly the largest event in Anchorage since the pope came to town.
The plan was to release us in waves of 1000 runners to be positive that all runners would receive their fare share of paint coverage. The start line was energetic with a party energy feel. I had managed to make it all the way to the front and was pumped for the count down.
No starting gun, no time chip, I assumed I would look for the clock at the end. No mile markers these were replaced with 3 stations lined with spray can armed volunteers. Together they formed a lane of spray powder paint for athletes to run through.
I started fast dodging and weaving my way until free of the crowd……crowd disappears fast. I throw a pair of neon sunglasses off my forehead after putting way to much effort into keeping them on. Running through the powder paint was quite enjoyable…orange, blue, and pink. About .5 mile from the race end a running buddy caught up with me. The finish line was empty, as about 8,000 people were still waiting to start. Connie clocked us between 18 and 19 minute (so I’m thinking not a 5K). Since it was an out and back we got to see the slew of runner/walker/pushers on their way out. Someone yelled “Hey this is supposed to be a fun run”.
For me fun in running free, fun is picking someone (like red spandex guy) and trying to pass him, fun is running through paint stations as opposed to waiting in line to walk through one.
Overall the attitude was way upbeat and fun. They had pre-race zumba and gave away lots of prizes. There will be a paint throwing after party at some point. Watching paint covered masses swarm the streets of Anchorage was entertaining to say the least.
Bottom line: Bad form to advertise a 5K with a not 5K coarse and no time clock. Good idea with the paint coverage but don’t call it a run if its not. Call it the Paint Mob/Rave at 6am.