This summer my sisters and I participated in the Color me Rad 5k run and had so much fun that Marissa and I decided to try out the Neon Run. It was a great time, but there were definitely pros and cons about this event. Here’s my experience.
The Neon run is a fun/un-run which means don not expect a typical 5k road race because it is a non-competitive/non-timed event in which you have fun glow zones/color spots and fun music to motivated you. Then when you finish and arrive back at the venue there is a neon festival with music, dancing and giveaways.
We kind of waited till the last minute to register because we weren’t positive we were going to be able to do the run, but in the end we made sure we could attend. The registration process was easy and I was able to find a coupon to get 10 dollars off the fee which at this point was $54. We had to pick up our packages a few days before the race at the West Edmonton Mall Sportchek. In the package we got a bib number, some glow sticks, a neon run head band, and a coupon for sportchek. Unfortunately unlike the Color Me Rad run there wasn’t a t-shirt in the package.
The day of the event Marissa and I went shopping at Value Village to pick up some items for our costumes. It was really fun to go around and find as much neon items as we could. Before we left we went to Subway to get some supper and were getting some funny looks even though we weren’t in our full costumes. So after supper we got ready by putting all our neon gear on.
We decided to walk over to the venue because it is pretty close to my house. We got a few stares and questions on our way to the place.
The email that we got the day before the event told us to arrive 90 minutes before our wave time so since we were to run at 8pm we arrived around 630. At this time people were just starting to arrive so there weren’t a lot of people around yet. It was nice that we were able to get some pictures under the blue lights before it go too busy.
There was a DJ playing dance music which helped to pass the time. We also looked around at the merchandise table, but we decided not to buy anything. (The prices were reasonable $20 for a tshirt and $40 for a hoodie, but they accept only cash so make sure if you want anything when you go you take cash or go to machine)
I really don’t think there was much need to go 90 minutes early to the event. There was an MC type guy who we couldn’t really understand with all the noise. So we sat around the starting line and waited for the race to begin. As I said we were scheduled to run at 8pm so we all lined up around 7:45pm and waited for the go ahead. The MC dude threw out a bunch of glow sticks to people in line and we caught a few.
8pm came and went and we were still at the waiting line. Marissa and I were both a little nervous since we hadn’t been training since our last run (which was in July). About 20 minutes passed our start time we were finally getting a countdown and then we were off.
The first glow zone was very close to the beginning where you ran through and were pelted with neon colored water foam. It was pretty sticky and gross feeling. There weren’t many people around us at this time so we got a lot of it on us! Because I decided to run the whole thing I didn’t stop and take pictures during the run.
Marissa and I had planned ahead that we would run together as much as we could but we did our own thing. We both had playlists and so we actually only stuck together for about the first 1.5 km. Then Marissa decided to walk for a little bit so I was on my own.
The next thing about the run that I didn’t like was that it was quickly becoming dark and we had to run down a hill that was covered by trees which got very dark. At this point I was by myself but luckily there were a few people ahead of me that I could follow otherwise it would have been quite scary. So going down this hill I was thinking man this is easy, but I knew that going down a big hill like this meant that I was going to have to go up another big hill to get back.
At this point people I was around runners only so there weren’t many people around luckily because soon we came to the hill that we had to climb up. We had to go single file because it was so narrow and steep. I must saw that I am quite fit, and I had a tough time going up it. I didn’t run up it at this point because the people ahead of me weren’t running and it wasn’t like I could pass them. The hill was quite dangerous as there was nothing stopping us from going over the side of the hill. When I was going up I thought that it would be quite dangerous for little kids and elderly people. I know that the information online said that it was for all ages, but I wouldn’t agree with it for this track. I would think if they come back next year that they should definitely pick a different route.
So after the hill we got to the water station which was well earned after that climb. At this point we were running on uneven grass. I could still see well because it wasn’t yet completely dark, but I think that there should definitely be better lighting for the event. Shortly after the water there was another color zone where there were people throwing neon powder at us.
We were back on the back roads after this and I almost fell on an uneven sidewalk again better lighting would have been helpful during these parts of the event. Soon back on the main roads there was better lighting which was nice. We were running on the roads and I’m glad that they had police officers posted to help people cross roads in certain areas and make sure that cars were obeying road signs.
Then there were two more colored powder zones pretty close back to back. I got face full each time since there weren’t many people around us. They were also taking pictures during this time. I think they will be posting them on their website (Color me Rad sent out an email when they put the pictures up and you could search your name/bib number and find pictures you were in)
Soon I knew I was coming up to the end of the race as I was approaching the venue. I went through another color zone and then there was a blue light tent which was really neat. They were playing fun music and was great motivation to keep going. Before I knew I was on the last leg and people were cheering me on to the finish line. It was great to get back into the venue and grab a drink.
When I looked at my heart rate monitor I found out the route was actually 6.71km long! I was shocked that it was so long and that I was able to actually run all of it (minus the hill) and I was able to finish in 43 minutes without doing any training. I was very proud of myself for completing another race. Since I was one of the first group of people to arrive back it was nice that I could take some pictures under the blue lights before it became too busy.
Soon Marissa finished and I was able to cheer her on to the finish line, so we took some pictures to celebrate. Then the festival got started they were playing dance music and everyone was dancing and having fun. The MC was throwing out more neon glow sticks and tshirts. It was a pretty fun time, but we were tired and sore and ready to make our way home.
On our walk home we walked along the course for some of the time, and there were a lot of people still going through the course. At this point it was getting really cold and it was very dark. I was so glad that we were already finished. After reading reviews from people I found out that at this point things were starting to shut down. There weren’t any cups at the water station and not much if any color powder at the glow zones. From what I read there was a long wait to get up the hill for all the walkers because everyone was going single file and taking a long time to do the climb.
I know these fun runs are a for profit event, but they at least donate some of the proceeds to a charity. The charity for this particular event was the Keep a Breast Foundation which helps raise money for breast cancer prevention through art, education, awareness and action. Check out their website for more information or to donate money!!
I didn’t have many problems during the run, so I must say that in the end I had a great time. I know that there were problems with the event, but I expected this from reviews that I had read online. This is a very new event (I believe this is the first year) so I hope that they work out all the kinks and come back again next year improved. I would definitely participate again in the future because I had a lot of fun getting dressed up and running the race. These fun runs are a great way to be active and have fun at the same time!!
I never thought I was a runner, but after participating in the Color me Rad and the Neon Run I know that I actually do like running! I can’t wait for my next 5k which is the CIBC Run for the Cure in October. I think that I will have to sign up for a 10k event knowing that I can definitely finish 7k means that I shouldn’t have a problem with an even longer run.
Have you ever participated in a fun run? What did you think?
Be Healthy, Be Active, Be Happy