Color Me Rad 5K
Throughout this bright and happy 5K, there are numerous color stations where volunteers throw colored powder on you or douse you in liquid color. The end of the run is even more fun though. There is lively music and the MC invites guests on stage to compete in games and other activities. For my first Color Me Rad 5K, a group of people and myself went on stage while the whole crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to us, so that was a cool experience.
The MC and his helpers also throw color packets into the crowd. You are encouraged to open the packet and share the powder with those around you by dumping some into your neighbors’ hands. Then there is a countdown and everyone throws the powder into the air making a huge rainbow cloud. This is where you will get the most color on you and sometimes it’s a little hard to breathe with the powder flying around, but the color is safe and non-toxic. It’s corn starch-based with food-grade dyes.
Tip: Most of the color will wash out of your clothes. To make clean up easier, cover your car seats with old towels or bed sheets.
Score: A I ran in three of these so far so I don’t have much to critique. They could possibly add more color stations to the run but the after party makes up for this as well.
Warrior Dash 5K
A much harder clean up than Color Me Rad, Warrior Dash will leave you full of dirt (and in my case, mulch.) The Warrior Dash is full of obstacles that will having you crawling in dirt and mud, climbing up and down structures, and also getting wet. I ran the Warrior Dash this past August and my favorite was the Goliath, one of the featured obstacles. You climb up a rope net and reach the top of a 30-foot slide. The slide is super fast and fun and you land in cold, refreshing (dirty) water.
You really don’t get that dirty until the final obstacle, Muddy Mayhem. You can skip any obstacle, but my friends and I wanted to complete them all. In Muddy Mayhem, you army-crawl under barbed wire through a 100-foot long mud pit. In this case though, it wasn’t so much mud as it was water and mulch. I think the mud would have been better than having mulch pieces sticking all over my body when I was finished.
Tip: There are volunteers stationed at each obstacle but there is nothing to help break your fall between an obstacle and the ground. Most obstacles aren’t that high though and I was able to complete them all. Fingerless gloves helped me keep my grip while climbing especially on structures like Bridge the Gap that was wet with water and mud.
Tip: There are hoses to rinse off and changing areas. Bring trash bags for your dirty clothes and extra towels.
Score: A- I would definitely run in the Warrior Dash again. It would be nice if they keep changing up the obstacles and have actual mud, not dirty water and mulch.
warriordash.com (Click each obstacle to view tips on how to train for them.)
Insane Inflatable 5K
I was extremely excited for the Insane Inflatable 5K because I love blow-up obstacle courses and racing my friends on them. (For some reason, a lot of events at DeSales University had inflatables). Going into this 5K, I think my expectations were too high. The video on their website also portrays the 5K as more fun than it actually is. Overall, the obstacles are so similar you can’t differentiate between a lot of them. Most of them involve climbing up the obstacle and then ending with a slide. (Like the Warrior Dash, the slides were my favorite parts.) I guess there are only so many variations of inflatable obstacles but I was also picturing them to be longer than they were as well. With that being said, the obstacles do give your legs a work out though.
All-in-all, this 5K seemed to be hastily put together. We were running on rocky terrain one minute and then grass the next. There were large rocks that seemed hazardous and I think should have been removed for safety purposes and easier running. Most runs also have signs when you hit mile marks and this 5K did not. My boyfriend, Chad, and I felt the run wasn’t even spaced out to a 5K, it felt much shorter.
Score: C+ I probably won’t be running this one again. I was disappointed by the obstacles and would only consider running again if they added more of a variety.
The Great Pumpkin Run
The Great Pumpkin Run is you guessed it, held in the fall, and is always at a fall-themed farm or orchard. Because of the location the run is filled with pretty scenery. The 5K I participated in was at Savidge Farms in Mertztown, Pa., and we ran through the pumpkin patch and even part of the corn maze. There is also a Tough Pumpkin option where runners can hold a pumpkin up to 10 pounds during their run but that sounded more like hassle to me.
After the run, you are given complimentary apple cider and may enjoy the attractions of the farm. Since we already ran through most of the farm, my friends and I visited with the farm animals and left shortly after. This run is less exciting to me than others because if I’m paying money to run a 5K I want obstacles or color or at least money supporting a good cause; I can run a normal 5K on my own for free. This run is a fun way to celebrate the fall though. My friends and I also had a blast making our pumpkin-themed shirts to wear.
Score: B+ For being a fall-themed run, The Great Pumpkin Run succeeds; however, I’m not dying to run this one again. I think one experience is sufficient. I already have all the gear and see no reason for another pumpkin tech-jacket.
Read my most recent column in the Reading Eagle about how I got started running and my review of audio-guided runs on the Nike+ Club Run App.