I’ll admit that as I stood in line at Adventure HQ on Friday, queuing for my racepack, I had second thoughts: I had a fluey cold, I’ve been working too much and my friend who persuaded me to do a 5K race last year had gone on holiday.
DH was also leaving that night, which meant there’d be no one to force me out of bed and into my running shoes, to attend a race by myself.
Then he said those fateful words: “You won’t do it.”
Whether he just wanted to spur me into action, I don’t know. But it worked. “What makes you think that?” I retorted, replacing the negative thoughts with images of an athletic me (haha!) bounding round Dubai’s Autodrome on a sunny morning. “Of course I’m going to do it! [I said indignantly].
Turns out, I needn’t have worried. The Color Run, an American phenomenon that’s gaining worldwide popularity, isn’t a race at all. It wasn’t timed, most people walked, you could cut huge corners (shaving off at least half a kilometre), and, best of all, it actually lived up to its moniker as the happiest 5K on the planet.
As more than 8,500 people made their way round the racetrack at Motor City, the venue literally exploded into a puff of colour. Runners started in white t-shirts, and at each kilometre were caked in brightly coloured powders (made from natural food-grade corn starch) thrown by volunteers.
The atmosphere was uplifting and, needless to say, the finish line was one big party, with music blaring, colour throws, dancing and entertainers. It was also remarkably well organised, even down to the plastic kagool included in the racepack so you could drive home without smudging powder all over the seat.
Before the big clean-up, I nipped into our local shop for some essentials and got chatting to the store manager. He eyed my splattered clothes and wild hair style straight out of the good old punk days, and – in a nod to the way the UAE respects all kinds of beliefs – asked: “Have you been celebrating something? Must have been quite a celebration!” he commended.
It was – of health, happiness and getting active. Well done Daman’s Activelife, for making 8,500 people smile from ear-to-ear while exercising and for bringing more colour to the desert than I’ve ever seen.