Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Color Run vs. Color Me Rad: Who Wins?

Last year, I had plans to compete in “The Color Run” in St. Louis, MO.  Due to a medical situation, I gave up my registration for the Happiest 5K on the planet. At the time, I was devastated as this was the race I was working towards all summer.  Well, they always say something happens for a reason.

In January, I was rewarded with not only the announcement of “The Color Run” coming to my city AND “Color Me Rad” as well.  Both races were scheduled two weeks apart so it was a perfect opportunity for me to compare both races.  So I registered for both and prepared myself for COLOR!

Registration Process: The price ranges for each run depending on when you register online.  Each provides an option to register as an individual or a team with The Color Run providing a discount for team registration.  (Even if you register for a team, it does NOT guarantee a spot for everyone.  They must register prior to the city selling out.) If you sign up for The Color Run’s VIP list prior to registration opening for a city, you receive an additional discount code.  Color Me Rad offers the option to provide a direct donation to the charity of choice.  Color Me Rad requires with registration the option of the wave time.  For me, the registration price was the same for both races due to the Color Run VIP code/team discount and time of registration.  Without those codes, Color Run is slightly higher. 

Winner: Color Me Rad

TIP: Contact the race organizer about volunteering for Color Me Rad prior to registering.  In my city, if you volunteered Thursday or Friday for packet pick up, you were able to race for FREE.

Race Packet: The Color Run provides a white Color Run t-shirt, Color Run headband; two face tattoos, a celebration color powder packet, and running bid.  Color Me Rad provides a Color Me Rad t-shirt (color varied in my city), one tattoo, sunglasses, and running bid.  (Before the final color bomb for Color Me Rad, they do hand out a free color powder packet…no reason to buy at packet pickup!)

If you like to wear the t-shirt for the race, The Color Run wins the shirt as when I picked up my shirt for Color Me Rad, it was blue.  I prefer not wearing the same shirt for the run so I liked the Color Me Rad shirt to wear afterwards. The Color Me Rad tattoo is significantly larger as a placement on the face is not possible where The Color Run tattoo fit perfectly on the check.  Again, that is your preference.  So it really comes down to Color Run headband vs. Color Me Rad sunglasses.  To protect your eyes, the sunglasses where necessary so Color Me Rad had a better giveaway.

Winner: Color Me Rad

TIP: Pick up your packet prior to Friday evening after 5 PM.  Due to the popularity of the event, you will wait a long time if you register at the peak times.  You can register for friends.  If you can’t pick up during the week and can wait, pick up your supplies the morning of.  The wait would be significantly reduced (1 hours vs. 5 minutes)

Pre-Race Celebration: Prior to Color Me Rad, there was dancing, music, and giveaways in the race area where The Color Run did have giveaways, but all waiting in the race line.  For Color Me Rad, there are ‘waves’ in which you sign up for, but in my city, the time you registered for was not enforced.  Both races do impose waves with a waiting period between each one to spread out the race.  Both races start on time with Color Run providing a significant countdown on a sound system vs. Color Me Rad which was a bullhorn.

Winner: Toss Up

TIP: Even if you are walking, start out earlier to celebrate more at the end.  Those who start in the last group have a tendency to miss out on the party at the end. 

Color Run Color Entry             Color Me Rad Color Entry
Race Route: This comparison is difficult as the race organizers determine the route and usually it is not the same route.  In my town, The Color Run was downtown and Color Me Rad was on a college campus.  As far as distance, The Color Run was at 2.83 miles and Color Me Rad was 3.2 miles, but again, that can vary depending on the route.  While on the race route, Color Run has numerous signs on where you are able to take pictures with your group including the very popular “I Heart Tutus” where there is no branding during Color Me Rad.  Color Me Rad does have photographers along the route in which you can purchase photos post race for 2.99 per photo which have the Color Me Rad logo on it.  For overall branding and picture resources, I have to choose Color Run.

Winner: The Color Run

Color Comparison: This is the main reason on why you enter the race: the color.  This comparison will be challenging due to a rain during my Color Me Rad adventure.  (While I was worried about the
Before & After                            Before & After
Color Me Rad                             The Color Run
run, it made the event much more colorful!).  Color Run had four powder stations with a liquid shots at the end.  Color Me Rad has two powder stations, two liquid stations, and a final powder celebration.  The volunteers determine how much color you get on you so if you are looking for a lot of color, make sure you ask for it.

Winner: Toss up as if you ask for more color, you receive more color

Tip: Everyone waits for the first volunteer in the color station.  Skip the line and go to the second volunteer to get the color.  Make sure you spin in front of one of the volunteers to get full coverage.

The Color Run (Top) &
Color Me Rad (Bottom)
Post Race Celebration: When coming up to the finish line, Color Me Rad made the final color celebration at the finish line where The Color Run’s color was already completed by then.  Because of that, Color Me Rad had the better finish line.  Both had water and KIND bars at the finish line.  Afterwards, The Color Run had an official stage set up with dance competitions and numerous color bomb moments.  Color Me Rad had a two person lift in which was raised up and a couple of color bomb moments.  Both gave away tons of items including color packets and t-shirts.  Because of the stage and branding, The Color Run post celebration was better. 

Winner: The Color Run

 So who is the overall winner: The Color Run vs. Color Me Rad?


Both races were fun and colorful.  There were families with strollers, college kids, and even grandparents walking the race.  There were more people walking then running.  For a lot of people, this was their first 5K ever, and they accomplished the goal of crossing the finish line.  If it was not for the color and the fun, they may have never signed up for this race.  There are numerous programs out there to attempt to motivate us to move; The Color Run and Color Me Rad have found a great way to get people excited about exercising.  So if it is color, foam, or even a nighttime run, get your friends together and sign up.  You will have a blast!


  1. Totally agree with your concluding assessment. I did the Color Me Rad and it was a blast. As a runner its exciting to see a venue that opens up the possibility of running to people who might be otherwise intimidated by running a race.

    1. Completely agree Paul! There are new runners I become associated with that say, "I did a 5K...it was the Color Run (or Color Me Rad)". The great news is that they are now running or exercising. I can't wait until they both come back next year to keep our cities active!

  2. Anonymous9/02/2013

    Thank you for your review. It is appreciated. I wanted to do the Color Run then I saw the Color me Rad, so I was undecisive. I'm also on a lifestyle change. I wish you well.

  3. I did Color Me Rad today and the Color Run about a year ago and honestly I liked the Color Run much MUCH more. Way more organized, with a better location (both runs were in Miami). The check-in at the Color Run was very organized and fast, took mere minutes, the Color Me Rad, they had to continue adding check-in lines and the volunteers seemed a bit lost. At Color Me Rad, we had to go past half a dozen smelly dumpsters! I know that this might not have been the organizers' fault but they could have changed the path slightly to avoid it. Also, one of the stations ran out of powdered paint and we ended up scooping it up from the ground. I did enjoy the station of liquid paint at Color Me Rad but what really got me was how they ran out of the powdered paint that we were supposed to get at the finish line! The Color Run had a bigger and more hyped crowd and I was able to participate in the Color Cloud at the end and received an extra color packet.