Prior to running the Asheville Color Rave 5k I had run two color runs and one night run that involved glow sticks. I had lots of fun on all three, and I was looking forward to this run, but I also think I had some i'm over color themed, non-timed, novelty runs thoughts in the back of my mind on the day of the event. And, even though I had a great time at the Asheville Color Rave, I think those niggling over it thoughts might color my review (pun intended) of this race series. Still, if you're thinking of running this race find out all of the important details below.
The color rave website calls itself "a night time 2.5-3.1 mile fun run where runners, artists and insomniacs unite." The party starts when it gets dark outside. The run is unique in that it winds runners through a course peppered with fancy sound systems that ignite colorful light displays with the beat of the music. There are also intermittent foam stations. Before and after the run there are plenty of vendor booths to check out, music to jam to, and dancing to partake in. This is NOT a race. If you're looking for a "race" in the traditional sense of the term, look elsewhere. This is more of a PARTY where you happen to burn some extra calories as you travel from dj booth to dj booth on a fun run.
This race is pretty pricey for what it is ($50-ish), though there are plenty of ways to get discounts on your registration fee. Because of the price, I suppose I was expecting more to come in the race packet. The race fee must have gone to all of the sound systems involved in the race instead though because all you get is a unisex t-shirt and a minimal amount of glow garb. There is certainly plenty of glow gear to purchase at the race (glow paint, glow hair, glow jewelry, glow wands) but they aren't exactly offered at wholesale prices.
Like other races that travel from town to town, the directors of this race were probably constrained by permits and safety and chose to relegate "accurate distance" to the bottom of their list of priorities for run site location choosing. Still, I know a person can easily run a 5 mile loop around Carrier Park so the directors had no good excuse to cut the run down to a measly 1.5 miles! Boo! Of course, there were all of 10 people manning the race so no one stopped me and my friends when we decided to do the course twice. I didn't pay no $50 ish bucks to run 1.5 miles!
Brevity aside, the course was...dark and confusing. There was an announcer at the beginning of the run repeating the directions over and over again, but you know runners! It's up to the people in the very front to listen and the rest of us just follow. Plus, there should ALWAYS be a person or very visible signs pointing the way. Alas, the Color Rave didn't get that memo. Large sections of runners went in opposite directions around the course, causing many a dark collision. Yes, the light/music stations were fun, new, impressive, and playing great songs, but it's difficult to notice the stellar self-automated dj booth when you're trying really hard not to fall all over yourself on an unlit trail in the dark into oncoming people traffic.
Wait! What? Where? I guess I missed it...
Tips and Tricks
- Bring a flashlight!
- Between the foam and the colored powder, it's a good idea to wear shoes you don't care about too much.
- Bring your own glow supplies. The brighter you are, the more fun you'll have
Overall I give this race a 7 for novelty races and a 3 for races overall. Feel free to argue with me about my scoring if you think i'm being too harsh or lenient.