Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

A Dash of Color: Latin America’s Color Runs

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Runners in Rio’s 2012 Color Run get blasted with yellow powder. Photo: Silvia Izquierdo/AP/Corbis

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Chalk it up to the running craze in Latin America. Or to the revitalization of the region’s cities. Either way, the U.S.-based Color Run is turning the hemisphere’s streets into a rainbow of vibrant color. The urban running events—which are billed as “the happiest 5K on the planet”—involve a 3.1-mile sprint through a city while being showered with colored powder by spectators along the route. The participants, covered in yellow, red and blue, gather at the end for a color party, complete with live music, dancing and a secondary dusting.

Created in 2011, the for-profit organization expanded to Latin America on February 24, 2013, with its first run in Viña del Mar, Chile. Today, Color Runs have been held in 20 cities across Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica; and on December 14, Ecuador joined the party when it hosted its first race in Quito.

Color Run’s founders’ main goal was to make exercise and running exciting and fun for people of all ages and skill levels. And it seems to be working: for 60 percent of the participants in Latin America, the Color Run was their first running event. Marta Helena Gómez, who participated in the Bogotá run in 2013, says that in a city that hosts a 10k (6.2-mile) road race almost every month, the low-key, fun nature of the event sparked her interest and helped reintroduce her to running after an injury. She ran the race with her friends, and hopes to run the next with her daughter.

You don’t have to be an athlete to participate; the only requirement is to dress in white and end in color. Color Run plans to expand to Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, and Venezuela; but until then, you can find a race in the region by visiting their website:

Tags: Color Run, Public Health
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