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Run or Dye Philadelphia: A Colorful 5K

 Such a fun, crazy, messy, fulfilling, and genuinely amazing day!

By Moira Sim, Fordham University

The College Tourist is all about being young and adventurous. So this week I wanted to write about my experience with the Run or Dye Philadelphia 5K.

When I moved home for the summer this May, I decided I wanted to accomplish something more than marathoning entire seasons of TV shows on Netflix. I wanted to run real marathons! My Mom actually heard about Run or Dye first, and we decided improve our fitness levels together and have a colorful end to our hard work with this 5K. My wanderlust mind was immediately drawn to this run as opposed to others as the Indian festival of Holi inspired Run or Dye’s concept.

Photo Credit: Sacramento Bee

Photo Credit: Sacramento Bee

Every year, thousands upon thousands of Hindus participate in Holi. This festival is held at the end of winter to celebrate the upcoming spring season. The different powders represent the beautiful colors that accompany an abundant harvest. Those participating start a bonfire, throw colored powder into the air as well as at one another, and generally party pretty wildly.

Photo Credit: Run or Dye

Photo Credit: Run or Dye

Run or Dye is a 5K in which participants wear all white at the starting line and run through different color stations during the course of the race, similar to the festival of colors. It’s also not timed, so there is a real sense of fun and celebration, which is great for beginners like me! There are Run or Dye 5K’s all over the country, so anyone can participate in his or her own city, but I had my experience in good old Philadelphia. Each city chooses a different charity to support with their earnings, and the City of Brotherly Love picked The Barkann Family Healing Hearts Foundation. This foundation provides grants to local families who are overcome by the financial burdens caused by family crisis, long term illness, or sudden loss of life. Essentially they realize they cannot provide a cure or treatment for some diseases, but they can help ease the suffering of those loved ones left behind. Knowing I was running for an important cause like this really helped solidify my choice to participate.



I had been training for about a month so I could be ready for race day, but the morning of I was both nervous and excited. My Mom and I headed down with our family friends (also participating) to the Sports Complex where Citizens Bank Park (home of the Phillies) and Lincoln Financial Field (the Eagles home turf) are located. A sea of people dressed in white emerged from behind all the cars and we knew it was time! After check-in we got behind the starting line, music thumping in our ears and celebration all around us. When we finally began, a slower pace was set by the first color station, which didn’t bother anyone. In fact, many people walked the entire time, taking in all the action! I absolutely loved running through the different stations and being able to look down at my clothes and see how far I had gone already. We ran all around the sports complex (which was great inspiration), and finally reached the end of the 5k with an explosive cloud of green powder! We collected our water bottles and headed to the Dye Festival. There was a stage set up with a DJ, and every 10 minutes, participants were asked to “Color the Sky” with our personal packets of colored powder (as if we didn’t already have enough color on us)!

... And after

… And after

It was such a fun, crazy, messy, fulfilling, and genuinely amazing day to share with my Mom and some of our oldest friends. I am so proud that I can now call myself a runner and can say I actually began that hobby with an integration of one of my other favorite hobbies – traveling! This run really celebrated life, family, friendship, fitness, and most of all, fun. I will cherish this experience for such a long time and can really call the Run or Dye Philadelphia my Young, Wild, and Free Experience of Summer 2013.


Moira Sim

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Moira Sim has an unhealthy obsession with online shopping (acceptance is the first step). She watches the Travel Channel more often than one should admit and is currently in pursuit of room decor that will resemble an Anthropologie catalog. She can normally be found near a laptop and the key to her heart is frozen yogurt. Catch her on Twitter @givememoira!

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