Color Run Not Coming to Boston

The fun 5K race had plans to be in the Boston area in July but that has been canceled.

Color Run photo via Facebook

Color Run photo via Facebook

We were excited to see the Color Run on the cover of the June 2013 issue of Runner’s World magazine and even more excited to sign up for the July race that was originally scheduled to be held along the Merrimack River in Amesbury. The 5K race, which is not timed, bills itself as “Happiest 5K on the Planet” and really looks like a lot of fun. Officials say that more than 60 percent of Color Run participants have never run a 5K before, so it is perfect for beginners and children. You have to wear all white, and then as you run along the course, you pass through “Color Zones” where you are doused with color. It’s not paint, really, it’s food-grade corn starch and claims to be natural and safe, although their website says, the color will “mostly” come out of your clothes. Not like you’d seriously keep the clothes anyway.

Color runners going through the 'Color Zone' in Fort Lauderdale. Photo via Facebook.

Color runners going through the ‘Color Zone’ in Fort Lauderdale. Photo via Facebook.

So when we noticed that you could register for races in October, but not Boston’s in July, we were curious. We emailed the Color Run and received this response:

Hi Melissa,

Thank you for your email.  Since the Boston Marathon Tragedy….the

city of Boston is not approving any applications for running events

(at least at the time being.)  To help alleviate the HUGE need for our

event in the Boston area….we have TWO options that will open to the

public on May 15th.

New Hampshire – Sept 28th – 80 miles north of the heart of Boston

Providence, RI – Oct 20th – 50 miles south of the heart of Boston

Please get on our VIP list and we will contact you as any information

becomes available for your city!



Something about this did not seem right. Boston is a runner’s city. I can’t imagine that the City of Boston would be turning down permits, not only for races in general but for fun events that can bring the community together. So I called the Mayor’s Office and spoke to Press Secretary Dot Joyce, who assured me that this is an outright lie. “It is absolutely not true,” she says. In fact, Joyce is working on approving a new permit for a Memorial Day race as I type this.

Kids at the Color Run in Fort Lauderdale. Photo via Facebook.

Kids at the Color Run in Fort Lauderdale. Photo via Facebook.

So why would Color Run officials use the Boston Marathon tragedy as an excuse for canceling the Boston race? If they couldn’t get permits for some reason (the Boston Marathon tragedy is absolutely not a reason for races not getting permits), they should be honest about it. Or if they canceled for another reason, why use the marathon as an excuse? All of us here in Boston have taken the marathon tragedy personally. It’s hard to not get choked up about it almost a month later. But for growing companies like the Color Run (they have big name sponsors like Chevrolet) to use our city’s tragedy as an excuse for not getting the ball rolling on something is appalling.

I’m hopeful that this is a big misunderstanding and that the representative who wrote to me was misinformed. I have left a few messages and emails for the Color Run’s press office, and if they ever get back to me, I will update this post. If this is a he said/she said between the Color Run and the Mayor’s Office, at this point, my money is on the Mayor’s Office. They were very prompt with their reply and seemed to be as annoyed about this as I am.

Updated 5:47 p.m.: We just spoke to Eric King who is the Color Run’s race director. He said that although their website lists the July 2013 race in Amesbury, that is listed incorrectly and that was not the proposed location for the 2013 race. He also said that they would love to come to the Boston area, but that their permit was in fact denied. He would not comment on what town denied the permit though, out of respect, because he doesn’t want to throw stones, but says that it was NOT Boston. He says that his customer service rep that sent me the email was misinformed and that not only was it not the City of Boston, but that it was his opinion that it was denied due to the marathon events. They will continue to try to get into the Boston area. He is sending me a statement that I will post on Monday. In the meantime, if you want to get your Color Run on, you can sign up for the Providence or New Hampshire events on their website.