In late March, Real Racine (the Racine County Convention & Visitors Bureau) was approached by one of the organizers of The Color Run, Jeff Suffolk, regarding the opportunity to host the race in Racine.
The Color Run is a non-competitive, non-timed 5-kilometer run/walk where participants wear all-white apparel and are doused with a colored paint (food-grade colored cornstarch) at each kilometer mark of the race. The race is concluded with a finish line festival.
Suffolk is a friend and former colleague of Ironman 70.3 Racine triathlon race director Ryan Richards.
Richards recommended Racine to Suffolk as an excellent location for the race and me, events director at Real Racine, as a good fit for race director. The Color Run organizers agreed.
The Color Run, which is now scheduled for 30 U.S. cities in 2012, has a very busy race scheduled and offered Racine one option as a date for the race — Saturday, May 19.
This date was non-negotiable. It was take it or leave it.
Real Racine researched the race and found out it has sold out to thousands of runners in all the major cities where its held events so far this year. It’s anticipated to sell out to 10,000 runners in Racine. The race was recently called “One of the Coolest Races to Run This Year” by Self magazine. At the time, The Color Run had 150,000 Facebook “likes.”
That number is now up to 226,000 “likes.” (That’s an increase of about 9,000 likes per day.)
Real Racine gathered the support of Racine Mayor John Dickert, City Administrator Tom Friedel, Racine Police Lt. Chuck Weitzel and Director of Festival Park Rik Edgar.
Within two weeks, the race, which will be held in downtown Racine, was approved by the Racine Department of Public Works and the Racine Common Council. A contract between The Color Run and Real Racine was finalized.
Of the 10,000 anticipated runners, 75 percent is estimated to be coming from outside of the county—a large number from Chicago and northern Illinois. The race starts at 5 p.m. and is followed by a free concert at Festival Park, giving runners the opportunity to visit Racine restaurants, bars, shops and even stay the night. The economic impact is estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars. It will also draw local, state and regional media attention, in addition to national Web and social media attention.
Real Racine is a non-profit organization that’s mission is to promote tourism to Racine County and build awareness of the county and its offerings to people living outside of the area. The mission is to get out-of-towners to come to Racine County, spend money, stay overnight, have a positive experience and hopefully return.
Bringing The Color Run to Racine meets this mission.
The Color Run is also giving back to the community—making Real Racine and the Racine Arts Council charitable partners of the race.
Real Racine understands this date is the same date as the third annual Ruud Rush 5k run, as well as Racine prom. Had negotiation of The Color Run date been an option, Real Racine would not have selected the May 19 date.
The Ruud Rush 5k run is a wonderful, competitive community race. It supports a wonderful local charity—Recreational Activities for the Developmentally Disabled (RADD). Because the Ruud Rush 5k takes place in the morning, interested runners do have the option of taking part in both the Ruud Rush and The Color Run, if they so choose.
Real Racine has agreed to donate $500 to RADD to make up for some of the donation money it believes it will lose from the Ruud Rush 5k as a result of The Color Run being held the same day.
Real Racine will also continue to advertise the Ruud Rush 5k on its Web and Facebook pages as well.