Color Me Rad vs The Color Run

by Glenneth on October 27, 2012

Color Me Rad vs The Color Run

Updated 2-17-2013: This has become one of my most popular posts. A few updates are below.

Having done both Color Me Rad in Knoxville and The Color Run in Nashville during October 2012, I feel qualified to compare the two events. Both had strengths and weaknesses. The Color Run rocked because we used it as an excuse for a 3-day weekend in Nashville. Color Me Rad rocked because it was in my hometown and so great to see 1000s of people participate. They both rocked because we had friends walking/running with us.

Let’s compare a few areas and I will pick a winner for each.

Distance – 5K

Both races claim to be a 5K distance (3.1 miles). I know that these are fun, non-timed events. I just think if you say you are a 5K, at least get to 3 miles. My Garmin (and hubby’s) measured Color Me Rad at 2.8 miles and The Color Run at 2.6 miles. Both events could do better than this. I have read online others saying that their event was short also. Maybe the event organizers need a new tape measure.

Winner: Neither


We waited in line to park for Color Me Rad (Knoxville) for over 30 minutes. We pulled right into The Color Run (Nashville) and had plenty of empty parking spaces. We arrived at the same time for each (1 hour 15 minutes) before start time. The Color Run held the event at LP Stadium (where the Titans play) which held 100s (if not 1000s) of cars. If either comes back to Knoxville, I suggest a different location – maybe near our stadium which has ample parking for large events.

Winner: The Color Run

UPDATE: Color Me Rad is coming back to Knoxville in April and have changed the course, which means the parking has changed. Guessing I was not the only one to complain about this.


Hands down the winner was Color Me Rad (Knoxville). The Color Run had sparse port-a-potties that were disgusting. Do know that we use TONS of port-a-potties at the different races we participate in. I tried two different ones. Neither had paper and both obviously hadn’t been serviced in days. Luckily I didn’t need to go that badly. I have actually never seen a port-a-potty in that shape in my life. NEVER. My guess is The Color Run was depending on the City of Nashville to ensure that the port-a-potties were cleaned. Someone in The Color Run organization should have ENSURED that the task was actually completed. Just disgusting.

Winner: Color Me Rad

Color Amount

The photo below shows me after Color Me Rad (left) and The Color Run (right). To be fair, I used my picture from The Color Run BEFORE hubby dumped an entire green packet on me.

Color Me Rad vs. The Color Run

Color Me Rad vs. The Color Run

Color Me Rad had 5 color stations and two of those were liquid color. The Color Run had 4 color stations – all powder. I think the liquid color helped the powder stay on your clothes which led to a more colorful race.

I will say that I think The Color Run volunteers put more color on you and there were more volunteers with each color station.

Winner: Color Me Rad


From packet pickup to the actual race day experience, I thought Color Me Rad staff were friendlier and more prevalent. We hardly saw any staff from The Color Run on race day (except for the color stations). Color Me Rad had staff/volunteers everywhere – both on the course and in the festival area. The announcer for Color Me Rad was hilarious and really kept the crowd upbeat.

Winner: Color Me Rad

UPDATE: Staffing and volunteers are so very important. Not just to ensure everyone has fun, but in case of emergency. The Color Run needs to ensure they have enough staff/volunteers based on the size of the event and do something to make sure they stand out.


Just going by extras we bought – Color Me Rad won. We each bought an extra shirt and I bought a hoodie. I tried to buy some items on race day from The Color Run. With the line consistently over 200 people, I decided not to stand in line. To be fair, both have an online store where you can buy items at any time. I liked the products/colors that Color Me Rad had better. I bought a hoodie from there and love it!

Color Me Rad Hoodie - Front

Color Me Rad Hoodie - Front

Winner: Color Me Rad


This area really pisses me off. Color Me Rad had photographers along the course. About a week after we received an email with a link to our photos and the ability to search for more photos. I thought they were great and bought 4 of them (approximately $8.00). Here is my favorite:

"Official" Color Me Rad Photo

Official Color Me Rad Photo

So, when The Color Run sent out an announcement that you could pay $5 before the race and download as many photos as you wanted, I paid my $5. HUGE disappointment here. They had NO (ZIP ZERO NADA) photographers on the course. The only way you got your photo taken professionally was to stand in yet another long line. Of course, I didn’t really realize this until a few days ago when I got the email that said I could search for my photo. Once I started looking at photos, I realized we weren’t even going to be in them because we didn’t stand in the photo line.

Winner: Color Me Rad (by a HUGE margin)

Goodies with Registration Fee

Color Me Rad: black t-shirt, sunglasses, color packet, tattoo

The Color Run: white t-shirt (which we wore to the race), headband, color packet, water bottle, tattoo

Overall, it was pretty even on this. I am much more a sunglasses girl than a headband girl, plus sunglasses NEED to be worn when they are throwing handfuls of color at you. The water bottle was a nice touch from The Color Run. I did actually carry it with me and used it. The black t-shirt from Color Me Rad is super cool. Hubby actually wore his last night to dinner.

Winner: Tie

The overall winner is COLOR ME RAD!!! I certainly enjoyed both of them, but I am DEFINITELY signing up for Color Me Rad if they come back to Knoxville.

I asked hubby his thoughts on the two races. I didn’t tell him my thoughts, just that I was writing a blog article comparing the two. Hands down his favorite race was Color Me Rad. Mainly because of size. Color Me Rad in Knoxville was about 5500 people. The Color Run in Nashville was about 15,000 people. The Color Run race started at 9AM and we didn’t get through the start line until 10AM.

UPDATE: In full disclosure, both companies contacted me via twitter the day this post was originally published. Color Me Rad wanted to thank me and said they were glad I had such a great time. The Color Run said they would love to talk to me and were sorry I was disappointed. I gave them my cell phone number and told them to call anytime. They never called, never sent another tweet, nothing.

UPDATE: One question I often see is “how do you take pictures?” The first race I put my camera in a ziploc. Then all my pictures were fairly blurry. The second race I used an older point and shoot without a ziploc. All the color came off the camera without a problem and I got great pictures. I also wore my Garmin the second race and wiped the color right off.

Have you done a color race? What did you think?

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