Run or Dye London: race review

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Last weekend I ran….this in itself would be big news at the moment, but what I ran in was the London event of the Run or Dye series at Trent Park near Cockfosters: they’d kindly offered me a place, it was on a Saturday so my trains were running and so it seemed rude not to go. It also seemed rude not to raid their table of tutus and get my face painted too the upshot of which was that I started the race looking like a slightly concerning children’s party entertainer but very excited. I’ve always wanted to run in a tutu – admittedly in my head I looked more like a ballerina in trainers than the actual end result, but  tutu, yay….I was very sad that I hadn’t packed my running tiara.

When I got to the start line it was clear that despite my finery I’d forgotten something else – the packet of extra coloured powder that it seemed was back in my goodie bag a 10 minute walk away. Everyone else had found theirs and were chucking it around blindly, some people were absolutely covered in the stuff. My friend Jackie and I stood around trying to look like someone you wanted to turn purple/pink/blue but other than a friendly red handprint on my back from the guy behind us, I started the race fairly clean.

Due to farting about with tutus and facepaint, we’d ended up right at the back of the pack which meant it wasn’t the fastest field I’ve ever run in, which wasn’t a bad thing, I hadn’t run for a week or so so ending up surrounded by the Kenyan Olympic Powder Run team (come on, you know it’s only a matter of time) wouldn’t have been a good fit. Still my body remembered that it quite likes this running lark and so actually wanted to take off yet the combination of lots of walkers, a narrow path and quite a muddy course meant I could only get my stride in a few places, still this made it more fun as in the end I just decided to run/walk it with Jackie and see what happened.

That's Jackie....!

That’s Jackie….!

Unlike the other runs I’ve done, the colour zones weren’t strictly 1km apart – we had three in fairly quick succession then I’d guess about a two km run through some woods before the final two zones which was actually really nice, if rather precarious. You definitely don’t want your good trainers in this race – if getting covered in powder wasn’t going to destroy them, getting covered in the thick mud that was over much of the course might. It’s also a pretty hilly – although there was a brilliant downhill which just needed to be run down arms outstretching shouting ‘wheeeeeeeeee’ – which, considering my outfit I decided I might as well indulge in.

So, did I end up covered in powder this time?…..No! I’m really doing this wrong. I should have learned from last time that the closer to the back you start the cleaner you finish. By the time we got to the powder zones, they were kind of running out again and I think the throwers arms were tired. Jackie soon worked out that if you wanted to get messy, instead of running through the zone and hoping for the best, you had to pick a thrower and stand directly in front of them. I however kept forgetting this and running through waiting for exciting splatter of dye…..I really need to get the hang of this soon. Admittedly, the green zone did hit target, specifically my hands which proves how many times I must touch my face as I run, I did end up looking part Elphaba by the finish line. Note to self – next time I run down a hill in a tutu with a green face, don’t ‘wheeeee’ use it as an excuse to break into a chorus of ‘Defying Gravity.’

I look very stern...I don't know why I look stern.

I look very stern…I don’t know why I look stern.

The other barrier to my finishing photo of filthiness was the wind – it was a pretty blowy day and as such, even the powder we did get about our person made its way out into the atmosphere. Unlike the Color 5k and the Colour Run, there didn’t seem to be any plans for a final group powder throw to make up for things either. Admittedly, as we were going to the pub after the race this probably was a good thing – a few baby wipes back at where we’d left the bags and we were done. We did keep the face paint on though – which made for some odd looks on the tube.

So, did I enjoy the event despite finishing clean again? Yes, I did. It wasn’t a super big field but there were enough people to keep you motivated – and it wasn’t quite as trendy as the Color Run which meant whatever your age you could enjoy it rather than feeling a bit like the old git trying to get down with the youth and, despite the hills and the mud, I actually liked the course. It was nice to run in trees  – as I normally run alone, I’d never normally run in a wood as I wouldn’t feel safe so that made a really nice change. In a way, the powder bit was just an added bonus.

Plus I got to finally run in a tutu which has always been an ambition of mine, it was surprisingly comfy and matches my flipbelt beautifully… ambition, getting to run in the tutu (yes I got to keep it) and my tiara. Hmm, I wonder where might be a good place to try that. Anyway, if you want to give a Run or Dye a go, there’s still 15 events taking place this year from Bournemouth to Edinburgh – check their website to see if there’s one near you.


  1. lynnestaubyn

    Sounds like you’re all kitted out for DLP Half! I did Bath Run or Dye yesterday, but didn’t take the opportunity to purchase a tutu. How silly!

    1. healthehelen

      I’m now wondering what happens if you layer them……!

      Reply this thing on? Talk to me, it's lonely down here

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