How to Organise a Colour Run

Colour runs have risen in popularity over recent years as a fun way to raise money for charities, hospices and local communities. Less competitive than traditional runs, colour runs attract a larger demographic of participants, who ultimately want to have a fun day out with their loved ones! But how can you pull off a successful colour run for your next fundraiser? Read on to find out!

Get the basics sorted:

  • Choose a name for your event - be careful with trademarked names such as ‘The Colour Run’ and ‘Colour Obstacle Rush’

  • Choose a suitable date - having a fun run in the height of Summer may seem like a good idea, until you’re running in it! Choose the end of Spring or the beginning of Autumn for a cooler climate.

  • Choose an appropriate venue - always make sure you receive permission from your council before organising an event on public land. 

  • Map out the course - are you following a longer, picturesque running trail or simply running laps around one field?

  • Work out a budget - there’s nothing worse than overpromising and under delivering on a community event! Set a realistic budget and get in touch with local businesses who may be happy to help in return for sponsorship opportunities e.g displaying a banner at the event or sponsor logos on merchandise

Recruit a team of volunteers:

  • Set-up crew - gather a team to help set-up (and take down) the course, colour stations, start and finish lines, checkpoint areas and any staging or stalls you plan on having.

  • Registration - assign your friendliest faces and most efficient team members to the check in tables. This checkpoint needs to be moving smoothly as nothing will put a dampener on your day like waiting in long queues.

  • Powder throwers - assemble at least 3 volunteers to be stationed at every colour station - 2 volunteers to throw powder at the runners and one volunteer to refill supplies.

  • Course marshals - scatter general helpers at various points around the venue where they can direct traffic and monitor behaviour and safety. 

Donation based or entrance fee based?

  • Donation based fundraisers often have tier formats. Each participant works to raise funds to reach different tiers that have unique incentives and prizes which they can claim at the event. For example, if a participant hits £10 they get a small packet of powder, if they hit £15 they can add a wristband, if they hit £25 they receive a branded white t-shirt, and so on and so forth. This makes the event accessible to those who aren’t able to give much money but still want to take part, or those who are happy bringing their own supplies. Incentives also make it more exciting for those willing to fundraise, and encourages larger donations as participants compete to hit targets.

  • Entrance fee based fundraisers are a lot more straightforward. All participants pay a flat fee to enter and can be supplied with a runner’s pack, which could include event merchandise such as a t-shirt, wristband, floral lei, whistle and headband. This type of fundraiser allows for no confusion and makes sure everyone receives equal handouts, but could deter those not able to pay the fee.

Pre-colour run:

  • Warm up the crowd - although the colour run starts at the start line, the event starts as soon as the participants arrive at the main stage area! Create that party atmosphere with a mass warm up hosted by your DJ, event announcer or a local fitness coach to get your runners all fired-up. Don't forget to stretch! 

  • Stagger your starts - this could be categorised by age, ability etc. A staggered start helps to prevent traffic jams at the colour stations and gives the more serious runners a head start, maintaining a steady flow of fun!

  • Colour fountains - Use our fabulous colour fountains as a way to get everyone throughly covered in colour powder when the starting gun goes off. 
  • Colour cloud countdown - hand out individual colour packets at the start line for an exciting, colourful photo opportunity. Participants throw their powder in the air at the same time to create a fantastic rainbow cloud of colour powder! Be sure to take plenty of “before” photos to compare with those taken at the finish line.

During the colour run:

  • Colour stations - set up multiple colour stations along the course with volunteers ready and waiting to spray runners as they pass by. Allocate each station with 1 colour powder and colour appropriate flags and displays. This way, all participants will be covered head to toe in all colours by the time they cross the finish line.
  • Equip your volunteers - there are so many different ways to throw colour powder, but the most common (and effective) way is to open the bulk bags of powder and use cups/bowls (ideally plastic or paper as to avoid injury!), to scoop the powder and aim it at your targets! But if you're wanting to capture some Insta-worthy snaps, you can't get any better than simply throwing individual colour packets all over your runners. We love the artistic effect this creates - very Jackson Pollock-esque!
  • Stay hydrated - depending on how long your run is, add a couple of water stations between checkpoints. Make sure these are separate from the colour throwing stations! Even though our colour powder is non toxic, we still wouldn’t recommend ingesting it.

Post-colour run:

  • Make it visual - the finish line is where everyone is completely covered in powder and celebrating their achievement, but more importantly, where they’ll be taking most of their photos. Make sure the finish line looks visually appealing with plenty of signage linking to your event and your sponsors. You could even create and display your own event #hashtag and encourage participants to use it when sharing their photos on social media in order to link all images back to your event.

  • Colour toss countdown:  - if you didn’t do one at the start, make sure you definitely do one at the finish line! Everyone will certainly be in the spirit by then, so there’ll be no holding back!

  • Picture perfect - don't forget to hire photographers! You’ve put so much effort into your event, you need someone to capture it! Photographers can get action shots during the run or group photos at the finish line. Share these photos on social media or send them to your local newspaper. Either way, these images will be great promo for next year! You can also use props/oversized photoframes to encourage attendees to get photos and sue your event hashtag!

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t forget your licence! - aside from your permit for the venue, you’ll need to seek out licences if you’d like to sell alcohol, play loud music or sell food past 11pm. For more details, speak to your local authority or visit the gov website.

  • Safety first - it’s paramount to identify first aid trained volunteers at any type of smaller event, but if your colour run has attracted a large crowd, it’s worth thinking about hiring extra personnel, such as St John’s Ambulance.

  • Where’s the toilet? - although it’s not a legal requirement to supply sanitation facilities at your colour run, it is common courtesy to be able to point your runners in the right direction of the nearest public toilets. However, if you are planning on selling food and drink after the run, it is recommended that you supply portaloos on site. You can calculate how many you’ll need depending on how many people you are accommodating and how long your event will last.

  • The more the merrier! - Everyone will be in high spirits on the day, and those who initially didn’t want to get involved might want a piece of the action! It’s always a good idea to have extra colour powder to sell around the venue on the day to raise extra funds. Spectators and supporters on the sidelines should also be highly encouraged to aim for their loved ones as they run past!

  • Let’s get the party started! - A colour run may be difficult to organise for schools, so why not host a colour party instead? Supply each child with a few 100g colour powder bags each, and let them go crazy! This is a great way for children to let off steam at the end of term, or say a final, colourful farewell at their leavers' do.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun! If you need any assistance in sourcing supplies for your colour run, we are more than happy to help.