Running down rainbow streets

The Colour Run, an international event for runners, came to Mumbai for the first time in a flurry of colours and fun.

With coloured powder clutched in their fists, around 3,000 Mumbaikars waited for the signal to start running. Some, with their wiry frames, were obviously seasoned runners. But many others were first timers, come to experience a marathon, while also having some fun. As Colour Run India kicked off in a flurry of pinks, purples and blues tossed up into the morning sky of January 14, the five-kilometre runners dashed off down the streets of Bandra Kurla Complex, leaving the fine vibgyor dust to settle slowly on the streets.

Also known as the “happiest 5,000 metres in the world”, the Colour Run is not really about competition but rather creating a fellow-feeling amongst runners, who are starting out or just want to have some fun. The run, which has heretofore taken place in iconic venues like the picturesque streets of Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower and in New York’s Central Park, among hundreds of other venues across the globe, was finally inaugurated in India with its characteristic joy and radiance.

At every one and a half kilometre, there were volunteers waiting with more colour, standing there to douse the participants in bright hues. College-goers Ashna, Anushka and Poornima were among some of the first runners to reach the first colour point. “This was their way of getting started with running longer distances. It was also a great way to just spend some time together and do something fun,” says Ashna.

“It’s like Holi in the middle of January,” Anuskha added with a grin, before taking off again.

By the time they crossed the finish line, most participants were an interesting patchwork of reds, greens, pinks and yellows. Among some of the first people to have finished the run were Akash Gupta from Ahmedabad and his friend Vishal. Akash, who has been running marathons for a few years, says that he came to Mumbai only to take part in the run. “I’ve done 21km in just two hours and 15 minutes. I’ve also run several other marathons and done long-distance cycling. I’ll be back to Mumbai to run a bigger marathon in a month’s time. This was a different kind of fun though,” he says.

Also among the runners was Deepak Magoo, who regularly runs a 20-km stretch from his Chembur home to Churchgate. “We dragged him here, since he’s a runner,” says Manon Gingold, one or Deepak’s companions. “The rest of us are amateurs. I really liked being able to run with others, since I don’t think that I would have been able to go the whole distance alone. Having people around added motivation, and the colour bursts in between were a welcome and fun distraction,” she added.

Bringing the run to India may have been one of the most fun projects that MD of OmCpl, Rahul Gomes picked up, but it definitely wasn’t the easiest. “Organising the actual event wasn’t all that difficult because we had a lot of help from the Mumbai police and fire department. But Colour Run has standards that had to be maintained. For instance, the colour itself is a patented brand of colour made especially for the event. It is processed so that there are no toxins in it,” he explains. “I first found out about the event from my daughter, who took part in it in the US. There, they have the run in all 50 states. I want for it to spread to most states in India as well,” he smiles.

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