The Color Run… Why would anyone pay $50 to have people throw shit in their faces as they jog?

Let me start out by saying that I like that the Color Run took place in Ypsi this morning. Anything, in my opinion, that brings upwards of 15,000 people into the city, to spend their money, is a good thing, even if they do shut down a lot of streets, and leave tons of trash in their wake. It was incredibly cool to see Beezy’s, the Ugly Mug, and Sidetrack packed this morning, and a throng of people around the Growing Hope bicycle blender, waiting to buy smoothies from young Ypsilanti entrepreneurs. With all that said, though, I find the whole thing kind of weird… I just don’t get why anyone would spend $50 to have people throw shit in their faces as they jog… But, I guess, as religion plays less and less a part in the daily life of Americans, folks are hungry for (purchased) experiences that allow them to feel as though they’re part of something bigger than themselves… And, I suppose, this is probably better than goading bulls as they stampede through narrow alleyways, or any number of other things.

When I first heard that Ypsi would be one of 30 U.S. cities to host a 5K Color Run, and that some of the proceeds would be going to local non-profits, I sent off a note to the organization, asking just how much money our non-profits were likely to get. They told me, “The charities and their requirements, needs, partnerships, fundraising, disclosure limitations and agreements vary with each venue,” and suggested that I contact the charities directly. (The local charities that partnered with the Color Run were Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, SOS Community Services, Michigan ElvisFest, Ypsilanti Area Jaycees, Downtown Association of Ypsilanti, Growing Hope and Food Gatherers.) While I’ve yet to reach out to any of them directly, I did hear from an anonymous source that the total contribution was in the ballpark of $13,000, with those charities that turned out the most volunteers this morning, getting larger shares.

So, here’s the math as I figure it… The last official count that I heard was that 17,500 had registered for today’s run. According to their site, registration, depending on how big of a team you to have, runs from $45 to $55. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll be conservative, and assume $45. 17,500 people, paying $45 a piece, would yield a whopping $787,500. Assuming my source was right, and our local charities received $13,000, that means the received considerably less than 2% of the total take. And, for that $13,000, they not only got a lot of publicity, but they also got a great deal of free labor… Not a bad business model, huh?

But, like I said, our local business people had a great day, and the neon corn starch-covered people that I came in contact with were all nice. Still, something seems odd about it… Maybe I’m just jealous that it didn’t occur to me to commoditize an Indian religious ritual.

I’ll give them credit, though. They’ve done a bang up job of marketing this thing.

[note to self: Now, I just need to find a way to Americanize this festival in Lebanon and bring it to the midwest with a pop soundtrack.]

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I think that this might also mark the end of rave culture. (It occurred to me this morning, as I was watching neon covered midwestern folks jogging into the park, where techno was being blasted, that this is what rave culture looks like when it’s marketed to the suburban masses.)

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  1. Watching Laughing.
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of Gus Macker coming to town, shutting down streets, taking over downtown and leaving with 1/2 million.

    You would think, these events would split the money in half with the charities, or host cities.
    Just my 2 cents.


  2. SparkleMotion
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Still not as big of a scam as the pink ribbon campaigns.

  3. dirtgrain
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    So what other rituals might we commoditize? Quick brainstorm:

    – speaking in tongues
    – snake handling
    – bris
    – Mormon underwear
    – eucharist
    – rent out crucifixes to lug around
    – burkas
    – refuse medical assistance in the spirit of Christian science
    – O-Kee-Pa (ritual of some Native American tribe(s) where one hangs from straps that are hooked into one’s chest)

    Is there another music movement that we could bastardize?

    It would have been such great timing to make a Jesus race back when
    “The Passion of the Christ” came out. The race could be thorn-optional, with runners dressing up like Jesus, sporting stigmata as they run through Ypsilanti. I know that there are re-creations done elsewhere in the world, but there is opportunity to commoditize here and market it as a spiffy 5K. Mark, there isn’t a better-qualified person than you to make an ad campaign for this.

  4. Dan
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    i’ll admit that I was ignorant about this event, and reading about shit being flung in people’s faces intrigued me. I was disappointed to find out this wasnt a Rhesus Monkey inspired event.

    There’s always next year…

  5. bee
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I have mixed feelings now that the day is done- from a business perspective, a lot of these folks aren’t people I’ll ever see again and still, we put on our best faces & kicked a lot ass- on the other hand, it didn’t generate any more revenue than a regular Sunday would have- and ultimately many of our regular Sunday comers-in likely avoided downtown Ypsi [and in tandem with all the other events this week, no doubt event burn-out was a factor- so perhaps I would have had a less than stellar Sunday without the color run traffic, but I doubt that].

    So we were balls out slammed for 2.5 hours, then it was a ghost-town, and we cleaned chairs and walls and restocked lemonade and it was business as usual. Shellshocked a bit, but Sundays is Sundays.

    The other face to the mixed feelings was that I was expecting today to be miserable, and I was pleasantly surprised at how genuinely buoyant, friendly, patient and kind all the visitors were… that was cool.

  6. bee
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    also- i think Ypsi is ripe for a combi bris/flagellation/crucifix walk [not mutually exclusive]

  7. Watching Laughing.
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I will have to say the event was planned out well, for natural breaks, with tons and tons of Port a johns everywhere.
    Hopefully the local businesses were saved from having to unclog their toilets from so many visitors . That always sucks, but true.


  8. DanR.
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Will someone please inform Watching Laughing that his name appears at the top of his post, so it is not necessary to sign his comments at the bottom? Christ. That’s been bugging me for months. He’s like the dude at work who puts his name in the subject line of his emails.

  9. Taco Tom
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    If that’s your only problem, you’re having a pretty easy day!

  10. Watching Laughing.
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink


    SHUT UP!!!

  11. Dan
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I always appreciated it. Sort of like Chevy Chase signing off on SNL. “I’m Watching Laughing and you’re not.

  12. Kristin
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I’d be very interested to hear that donation dollar amount confirmed.

  13. shanky
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    That’s what I meant by the questionable amount of funds being actually given to the local charities. sigh. On one positive note, I personally collected a HUGE bag of the empty “color packets” that I plan on making “official color run YpsiTrash” stuff from, lol. but I hope they recycled some of those water bottles! sheesh! And how much did the city get? maybe 25-30, 000 ? (do you know?) It’s an internal battle because people pay to have fun, they pay for the circus, gambling tent, beer, etc… and everyone seemed to have fun, so what makes it any different from that kind of stuff? Honestly I think more should have been donated to the local charities, but that can really be my only gripe in all of this. Even my dog had fun and it was waaaaaaay healthier than many other “fun” activities. We attended kind of guerilla style and ran along the route from the sidelines and the kids had a blast and we didn’t pay a thing ;) But don’t tell on us ;)

  14. shanky
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    p.s. the ashura festival “stuff” I often see practiced during punk rock concerts, Mark, you just gotta go to the right places! ;)

  15. Jean
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Following Bee’s suggestion– the water tower looks a lot like the whipping posts in town squares through out Spain and Portugal– remnants of the inquisition. Fine location for some ritual ecstatic self-flogging.

  16. Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    My formerly enjoyable memory of running the color run has faded into a guilty feeling that it didn’t generate more of a benefit for Ypsilanti than I would have anticipated. Thought that it would have at least brought more profitable business for the local restaurants. Oh well… :/

  17. Meta
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Indian things to co-opt, what about about walking on hot coals?

    Fire officials said 21 people at an event hosted by motivational speaker Tony Robbins suffered burns while walking across hot coals and three of the injured were treated at hospitals.

    The injuries took place during the first day Thursday of a four-day event at the San Jose Convention Center hosted by Robbins called “Unleash the Power Within.” Most of those hurt had second and third degree burns, said San Jose Fire Department Capt. Reggie Williams.

    Walking across hot coals on lanes measuring 10 feet long and heated to between 1,200 to 2,000 degrees provides attendees an opportunity to “understand that there is absolutely nothing you can’t overcome,” according to the motivational speaker’s website.

  18. MarkH
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Maybe Andy Ypsilanti will weigh in on this post and tell us if these are the kind of events he wants to see that will grow the city.

  19. anonymous
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I don’t think anyone is saying that this was a bad event for the city, even though, as I understand it, the city itself didn’t make any money from it. The city, from what I’ve heard, was compensated for the use of public safety and public works employees, but I believe that was it.

    Was there a charge for the use of the park?

    Was there a charge for closing the streets?

  20. Tommy
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    13k is way too small of an amount to give up to various charities for an event this size. I too am a bit disappointed if this figure is accurate. I participated, it was great fun, and the atmosphere was very friendly and positive. With 30 races across the US, and with GM offsetting some costs by their corporate sponsopship, someone is making a lot of money off of this venture. Wish I had thought of it!!!!

  21. Leslie
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Blah, blah, blog! I do enjoy your blog Mark, but this one just feels whiney. Our store MIX was dead all day, people covered in powdered color (thankfully,not shit) is not conducive to shopping, but I LOVED this event, a great alternative to the national fascination coverage of a guy shooting in a movie theater, etc., etc., etc. Just think of all the money that goes to charity for the advertising that goes along with that news. Is this the new “cool” to be the ones who disagree with something big and fun? It was performance art, it was comedic, and I saw a huge bunch of people having a party. Do I wish I had thought of it? Hell, yes.

  22. Shammy
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I wish there would have been a bit more heads up for residents in the areas where the run took place. Maybe some better detours for people trying to commute. I was 45 minutes late for work.

  23. Turbor
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Accuses Mark of being “whiney”, then proceeds to whine. Classic Ypsi.

  24. rancid fruit
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    “I just don’t get why anyone would spend $50 to have people throw shit in their faces as they jog… But, I guess, as religion plays less and less a part in the life of Americans, folks are hungry for (purchased) experiences…”

    Mark –

    I hear you. I had a similar experience the other day. Went down to the Corner Brew for a beer and found they were having an arts & crafts bazaar. I remember thinking as I wandered around looking at the…ahem….”art”, who would spend money on this second rate, amateurish shit? Must be a bunch of non-believers desperate to purchase something that makes them feel a part of the larger community.

    But that wasn’t the worst of it.

    As I sat at the bar surveying the scene I got the distinct impression that there was a number of suburbanites in the place. I can’t be absolutely certain but many of them didn’t have dork glasses, beards, hats or tats which made me very suspicious. Needless to say, I drank my beer and left.

    I think it’s time we start limiting these events to ones that make sense to me and that only attract hipsters from the local area. You know. Things like the Ypsitucky/Jamboree/Rootsfest/Whateverfest they call it. Better to have $200 donated to a local charity/non-profit if it represents 30% of the bottom line than to have $3000 donated.

    I don’t understand these car shows either. People spend thousands of dollars to buy 50 year old cars?! I can barely pay to keep my pos ride going. And don’t even get me started on Elvisfest. People paying to hear music I don’t listen to?! Seriously?

    I’m sick of these events. They draw in far too many suburbanites who throw around their suburban money like they’re Donald Trump. Next thing you know they’ll be wanting to buy a home here. Then what?

  25. Mr. Y
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    It’s rare, but, on occasion, someone here misses the point, and I’m afraid that’s what’s happening here. Mark didn’t say that he wished the Color Run hadn’t happened. What he said, in fact, was that it was a good thing for the community. He just expressed dismay that people would want to have colored corn starch thrown in their eyes as they tried to run a 5K.

  26. Anonymous Mike
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    The Color Run is the Gathering of Juggalos for people who are employable.

  27. Dan
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    uh oh, rancid fruit. You’ve now entered the league of “trolls” (aka non-hipsters). Prepare for the wrath of one Thom Elliott. Welcome.

  28. roundtoravishing
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I was one of those many that paid $35 to have colored cornstarch thrown in my face. Why did I decide it was a good idea? Because I got fit, lost almost another person worth of weight and for my first 5k I wanted to try a more casual style run that offered up a flair of whimsey. It honestly was a blast. I rain, walked and skipped while in a tutu. I had never been so dirty in my life, it made me feel like a kid again. It just plain looked and sounded fun to throw caution to the wind and get a bit colorful.
    I myself would like to know where the money is going for this. I do hope that Ypsi charities gain benefit.
    I spent the weekend in the Ypsi area, ate meals, checked out a few shops, walked through Riverside Park (before all the race stuff was set up and it is a beautiful park!) and bought granola from the Farmer’s market. I loved the food at the Dalat, amazing! I do wish that things were easier for us who traveled hours for the run to access the downtown merchants on race day. I ended up just hitting the highway once I found my way out of the inescapable maze that The Color Run caused. I would of stayed longer and enjoyed another meal in town.
    All in all I would do another Color Run, I think Ypsi was a wonderful and charming place to host the race and I would come stay another weekend in Ypsi for The Color Run again (if it is welcomed back) or even other local events.

  29. mark k
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    roundtoravishing thanks for coming to Ypsi, and i’m glad you had a good time. I didn’t know about it, but was laying in bed and heard on my police scanner there were still 5000 people in cross street and the srteet wasn’t ready to open back up yet. The rest of the morning I spent wondering what was going on, and why was I not invited. LOL! Bet it was a colorful blast.

  30. Posted July 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I live across town, if I hadn’t read about it, I wouldn’t have known about it. Sounds like it was a lot of fun for folks, some of whom might choose to visit our burg again. I am waiting for the philosophical among us to weigh in on the commodification of fitness and how it is another symptom of the terminality of modernity. After all the participants were simply spectators of the organizers who are now evidently rolling in dough.

  31. Dan
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink must be down today.

  32. Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Dan, as it sounds as though you’re calling me one, I’m curious as to how you define the term hipster. By all of the criteria that I’m aware of, I fail miserably. I’m overweight, middle aged, and gainfully employed. Furthermore, I haven’t listened to a “new” music since the ’90s. And, my facial hair isn’t the least bit ironic. Oh, and not only don’t I have a trust fund, but I haven’t taken a dollar from my parents in well over 20 years. If I’m a hipster, I’m the worst one ever… I should say, however, that I’m not offended by the comment. There are worse things to be than hipsters.

  33. Thom Elliott
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    I noticed no one mentioned the pollution this utterly purposeless for-profit ‘event’ must have created, and that people were breathing in who knows how much petrochemically derived particulate matter into their lungs’ fine tissue. I also would like to know how many cars were towed by the city for this ‘fun’, and how much money our industrious tow-truck industry made so we could close down our city for strangers to run through it covered with petrochemical dust. Perhaps there will be a new disease; like black lung from coal mines, or orange lung from working in nacho chip facilities, we’ll have ‘color run’ lung. No more for-profit events from careless event promoting vampires, thanks.

  34. Elvis Costello
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Hey all,
    While I missed running in the event (my knee has taken a bad turn), my runner friends from Ann Arbor had a great time. As a runner, I look for events where some of the proceeds go to charity, in fact I ran in Indianapolis on a bad leg two weeks ago where the money went to special needs foundations. I think many folks like me do the same. Also, the running community is pretty much some of the nicest, most welcoming people you will meet. They are encouraging to new runners and I see more smiles at an event run than you will find in a church on Sunday morning.

  35. Elvis Costello
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Hey all,
    While I missed running in the event (my knee has taken a bad turn), my runner friends from Ann Arbor had a great time. As a runner, I look for events where some of the proceeds go to charity, in fact I ran in Indianapolis on a bad leg two weeks ago where the money went to special needs foundations. I think many folks like me do the same. Also, the running community is pretty much some of the nicest, most welcoming people you will meet. They are encouraging to new runners and I see more smiles at an event run than you will find in a church on Sunday morning.

  36. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink


    The hipster has never been well defined. This is probably due to the fact that almost all hipsters deny being hipsters. Personally, my criteria fall more in the philosophical aspects. The rants about anti-consumerism and conformity, while spending money on ironic tshirts and glasses from American Apparel and taking instagram photos on their $500 smartphone made in Asia. The other criterion i have is the classic “I’m better/cooler than you and your suburban friends with your vinyl siding and lawns.” Some people define it more on the “look” which most people are familiar with.

    Personally, I dont really know you, just from what I’ve read here. I think you associate with hipsters and the hipster culture, while roaming around the edge of it. The “being weird for the sake of being weird” that was brought up in the SAF posts is a big thing. Not everyone meets all hipster criteria. However, someone like Thom, for instance, hits 99% of all possible criteria, the only one he misses is he’s not exactly fitting into skinny jeans.

  37. Mr. XY
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    So hipsters are people who use Instagram and deny being hipsters? Doesn’t that pretty much mean that everyone is a hipster?

    Personally, I think the whole thing is ridiculous. Labels, I suppose, serve a purpose. They allow individuals to make snap judgements about people without getting to know them. If I see a black guy in a hoodie, for instance, I know that he’s probably a criminal, so that it’s OK if I shoot him, right? And, if I see a skinny white guy with a handlebar mustache and a striped shirt, I know that I can dismiss his opinions because he’s a hipster. It’s shorthand for stupid people. (No offense, Dan.)

    The thing that I disagree with you most about, though, Dan, is your insistence that people can’t disagree with the system while living in society (driving a car, having a phone, etc). That’s the world we live in, and it’s both stupid and disingenuous to say, “You can’t express your dissatisfaction with, for instance, global warming policy because you don’t live in an agrarian, off the grid, vegetarian commune.” That’s just a way of marginalizing people.

  38. Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I don’t think “hipster” really means anything anymore; it’s just a generic put-down. I recently heard it applied to a woman I know who’s conservative, religious, works a dull office job — but is thin and wears glasses. I checked the dictionary, and I think a better word for Mark is “hispid” (covered with bristles).

  39. Brainless
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Thom, please admit you’re just trying to be funny – and failing miserably. I mean, I dig ironic n0n-humor as much as the next guy (who just told me he fucking hates it), but I guess I missed the funny. Could you, perhaps, flesh out the humor a little more so I could understand one word you just said?

  40. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Mr. XY,

    I dont consider hipsters “stupid”, i consider them hypocrites. It’s not a label I use to dismiss people, it’s a label I use to acknowledge that someone is trying to hard to not fit in, and paradoxically, trying to fit in with other “non-conformists.”

    And I dont have a problem with someone feeling bad about contributing carbon to the atmosphere, but does so out of necessity to provide for their family. No one is perfect.

    What I DO have a problem with is loud mouth ranters, that go on day after day about something, and then turn around and do the exact opposite in their personal lives. It’s one thing to say we need to fight climate change and yet still drive a car (hopefully you drive less, or buy a fuel efficient one). It’s another to write a 2 page diatribe (in nearly incomprehensible old english) every day about corporate greed from Wall Street Banks, and then go to work each morning on behalf of Wall Street Banks. I have a problem with someone who thinks he is better than everyone else, because he can rant about the perils of technology and consumption, and then checks in with his Instagram pictures from his $500 IPhone.

  41. kjc
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    the problem with this debate is everybody sucks.

    is it “old books” you don’t like Dan or old English? cuz modernity and nihilism and petrochemical don’t have old english spellings so you shouldn’t have to deal with the language barrier. (it’s concepts you don’t grasp, not words.) and there’s nothing wrong with reading Heidegger or Hegel or history for that matter (old books). Just because Thom uses Heidegger like an anvil doesn’t mean you have to act like nothing matters that didn’t get published in Time Mag last week. i personally like philosophy (old books) so i hate seeing it spewed like bloodspray. but you keep acting like reading/learning is old news in this modern age. that’s effin’ stupid. i assume you only go this far cuz you hate thom.

    you bring out the worst in each other. i wish it were funny at least.

  42. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I have a problem with Thom’s absurd hypocrisy. His love of philosophy is not a negative thing. The way he spews it is more humorous/obnoxious to me, though.

  43. Tommy
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Would all you hipsters just shut the fuck up and give it a break for a day or two?

    All we need now is for EOS to check in.

    Heidegger or Hegel – please.

  44. Eel
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I like the Shadow Art Fair better than the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Does that make me a hipster? Does it make me a hipster because I’d rather eat off of an interesting plate that I bought for $10 from the person who made it, rather than spending four times that at the Briarwood Macy’s? Am I a hipster because I’d rather own a piece of art made by an interesting local person than Thomas Kinkaid? Stop trying to marginalize people as “weird” when they’re just looking for non-corporate experiences. That’s not “being weird for the sake of being weird.”

  45. kjc
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    i bought a card from VG Kids at SAF that said “keep your fucking chin up” because they were out of them at Barnes & Noble. i bought five of them actually. and heard Saturday Looks Good to Me for free. there were some weird people there. as long as i stared at them, they seemed happy. then i went to elbow deep cuz i heard hipsters were there. but no one was.

  46. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Beard kissing and public manscaping is weird for the sake of being weird

  47. MarkH
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    As a card-carrying hipster, I think the Corner Brewery is a yuppie bar filled with white, middle-aged, yuppies. I enjoy the irony of having the SAF there. I hope Mark and the MDM get the irony too. I also hope it never leaves the space for somewhere less yuppie. It would spoil the experience.

  48. Anonymous Mike
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    You must have gone too early, kjc. Elbow Deep was packed after the SAF. Hipsters. Gays. Old. Young. Black. White. I think there were even a few color runners. And kissing booths aren’t anything new, Dan. They’ve been a part of America since the beginning.

  49. kjc
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    yeah i was too early. glad it filled up after 11. when i got there it was dead. two tables were open and people were “saving” them for the entire hour i hung around. i needed to be drunk for that.

  50. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    “”Beard kissing?”

  51. MarkH
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The beard kissing misled me as well.

    I thought Patrick Elkins was going to be running around kissing the wives/girlfriends of homosexual men that weren’t out yet.

  52. Brainless
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous Mike, your post is best read out loud in the voice of “Stephon” from SNL Weekend Update. Try it. Makes me chuckle when I get to “color runners”.

    “You must have gone too early, kjc. Elbow Deep was packed after the SAF. Hipsters. Gays. Old. Young. Black. White. I think there were even a few color runners. And kissing booths aren’t anything new, Dan. They’ve been a part of America since the beginning.”

  53. dirtgrain
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Dan: “being weird for the sake of being weird”

    Eh? What’s wrong with that? What, only accidental weirdness is legitimate? Screw that.

    What would the opposite be? We should all strive to be like plain bagels? Ya, let’s eschew weirdness and make ourselves relatively bland in flavor like cardboard, bland in odor like mothballs. Dan, you’re a fucking commie for condemning weirdness, or weirdness for weirdness’s sake (note: I like commies just fine, but the dull repetition that I was taught was life in the Soviet Union seems sucky). Are you just the bitter inhibited one, looking down at those with the guts to be different? What the crap is the weirdest thing that you have done publicly, sans the steroids of creativity (drugs, alcohol)? Sure, some people fail (relatively to the eyes of the beholders) at weirdness sometimes–but better that than never trying at all.

    I’m judgmental too, though. Sometimes I’m critical of those who seem merely to be conforming to some pre-established parameters of weirdness, measuring every step along the way. Still, maybe that’s how people learn to be creative. And collaborative weirdness can be awesome. I also am sometimes critical of those who seem to ever push some extremes of weirdness–it overwhelms like the experience of eating through ten boxes of Godiva chocolates (or Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates, for all you “hipsters”). How about weirdness in moderation? Maybe that’s where it’s at. Or to each his own. Fuck labels and categories that are used to dismiss (and, really, dehumanize) people who are different than we are.

    Bob Dylan: “If my thought dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine.” You’re weird inside your mind, Dan. We all are (I assume). Let it out once in a while.

  54. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    “I like the Shadow Art Fair better than the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Does that make me a hipster? Does it make me a hipster because I’d rather eat off of an interesting plate that I bought for $10 from the person who made it, rather than spending four times that at the Briarwood Macy’s? Am I a hipster because I’d rather own a piece of art made by an interesting local person than Thomas Kinkaid?”

    I’d lean towards yes, but it’s hard to tell. If you were to add that you hate sub divisions and lawns, and dont own a TV, then I’d say yes, you’re a hipster imo. Moreso, if you make it a point to tell people that you dont watch TV. (BTW, my entire set of 16 piece “Fiesta Ware” in 4 colors (from Macy’s) cost $100, after a 15% coupon)

    I dont really understand why so many of you find that “hipster” so offensive. Most of you take pride in rallying against corporate america and consumerism, and suburban life. Why does it bother you so much to be labeled as such?

  55. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink


    I think you’re confusing uniqueness with purposeful weirdness. I dont have a problem with rebellion. I was young once, and did shit that wasnt considered “normal.” Thats not my problem with this whole thing. The issue is people forcing “being weird” and being fake via it. You can tell from whoever the “beard kissing dude is” when he’s explaining his booth, he’s purposely trying to sound crazy and weird. it’s very obviously a facade. He’s trying way to hard. I believe he is the same person from other MM videos, similarly trying to be extra weird on camera.

    If any of you watch sports (or TV) it’s just like the fake weirdo pitcher from the SF Giant, Brian Wilson (he of Taco Bell commercials). You can spot a fake a mile awhile. Its not sincere and it’s obnoxious.

    I’m not saying all hipsters are fake weird, I’m saying several of the ones highlighted for the SAF posts here are most definitely fake. I dont see that show as “creative” I see it as trying to out-weird someone else, as the FB posted commented to mark. No one except your friends gives a shit if you make a “beard kissing booth” or some bullshit like that. It’s just showing off who can come up with the stupidest idea.

  56. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    and I’ll also ass that I think the AA art fair is a fucking yuppie joke, and I would pay to a kickstarter fund to abolish it. It’s literally the worst thing about Ann Arbor, IMO.

  57. Dan
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink


  58. Edward
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink


  59. dragon
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ll also ass that

    Someone’s been reading 50 shades of gay.

  60. dragon
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink


  61. PunkinGurl
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I participated in te Ypsi color run this past weekend and would like to thank the town of Ypsilanti for being a gracious host. I live down river and don’t get out that way often, but the few times I have been there I have been pleased. As for the money, cost was determined by when you signed up. Myself and my teammates only paid $35 each and the race filled fast, do I’m guessing that’s what most people paid. We were provided t-shirts, sweat bands, color packets, race numbers, wrist bands, water during and after the race, ports potties, and entertainment, so there goes a chunk of my registration right there. I am a little confused about why the charities ended up with so little, but I don’t think the “profit” for this race was as big as some people are thinking with the overhead costs involved..

  62. Posted July 25, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Dan, if you don’t like beard kissing, don’t kiss beards. Problem solved. Why get pissed off that other people like something you don’t?

  63. Dan
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink


    It’s not that I dont like beard kissing (I dont), it’s that this segment of people in Ypsi continually try to out weird each other, that bothers me, and 99% of it is fake bullshit. Mark once famously said (paraphrase) that “Ypsi was a lot like Ann Arbor, only cooler and more authentic.” Fake seems much more appropriate, imo, than “authentic.” I’d venture a guess that most of these people bashed the “normal” kids in high school and college for trying too hard to fit in. But thats exactly what they are doing, only they are adults now.

  64. Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Dan — Well, I’m in NYC, not Ypsi (I knew Mark before he set out to become the Emperor Norton of Ypsi), but it sounds to me as if the SAF people are just fooling around and having fun. If it doesn’t float your boat, what do you care? Everybody is somebody else’s weirdo.

    I walk through Williamsburg, and see kids in top hats writing poetry on vintage typewriters on the street. They look silly, but they’re having a good time. What harm does it do?

  65. Jess
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Those figures are probably right. I hacve read elsewere where organizations have only recieved $10,000 – 12,000 from the hundreds of thousands that were made by The Color Run. I have yet to do one, even though I am intreiged; however, the lack of donations to charities make me really question what they are doing with the money. Yes, it probably takes a couple thousand to put it on, with all the color, signs, registration fees, etc. But not 100s of thousands of dollars. It sounds like a really fun event but I do not think it is something people will continuously pay $45 each year to run in, especially if the Color Run keeps most of the money.

  66. Dan
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    none. Mark just asked me to define what I consider to be hipsters.

  67. Vinnie Massimino
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Hipster has replaced nigger/fag as the new insult of choice for persons with problems with others.

    “Oh, you like something different than myself?” Hipster.
    “Oh, you do something different than me?” Hipster.

    You fucking trolls and your insults. I’m so excited for what word you decide to designate as a put down next.

  68. dirtgrain
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve written my representative encouraging the formation of the House Fake-Weird Activities Committee (WHORE–don’t ask me how they got that acronym). Fake weird people out there: we want names. Who are the people with whom you have been fake weird? The religious right needs to be involved with this. Jesus wasn’t fake weird, ever.

  69. Dan
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    “Oh, you like something different than myself?” Hipster.
    “Oh, you do something different than me?” Hipster.

    Wrong! It’s the hispters that say “Oh, you like something mainstream? How submental of you.”

    The hispters are the ones that judge others and think they are better than everyone who watches TV or listens to mainstream radio, or who lives in a subdivision with friendly neighbors and nice lawns.

  70. J2 from A2
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Great Idea, Lots of Fun! Shit tons of money for the 2 young guys who started this and family members who organize it…

    $45 x 20,000 people (average) x 44 cities (this year) = $40 Million. Plus tons of money on other items sold at the events. I can’t believe their website isn’t selling stuff for additional revenue.

    For Ypsi, they needed 280 volunteers to run the event. For all these volunteers they paid $15,000.

    $15,000/280 = $53 per volunteer. So if your charity brought 20 people to volunteer, that charity received about $1000 plus or minus

    Not sure what the city received, but even if it was $100k, these kids are making out like bandits. Congratulations to them for actually doing these events and making it work… at least for now.

  71. Kerrie
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    When will we realize that endless nifty ideas for getting money from the purses of our neighbors isnt the end all and be all? Why do we celebrate creative ………….. thieves?

    FWIW, my heart is with the people that dont try to seduce me into losing $.

  72. Thom Elliott
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Not to encourage Dan and his insane crusade, but it is so hilarious this ‘hipster’ appelation, to Mark especially. I’m a nearly reclusive bald person, I barely leave the house except to go to antique or book stores or art museums with my girlfreind, I dress like somebody’s dad, I play the occasional concert (which is ‘weird’ music, or noise) and I study indepth two tragically un-hip subjects; speech pathology and philosophy. That’s about the triangulation of my life. I do know some actually hip people (rock stars, local legends, weird music autures), but those people aren’t ‘hipsters’ who I think of as fashion victim lemmings who need to be ‘seen’ to exist. Dan, I know you seethe with hatred for individuality, but give it a rest. If Ypsilanti is too weird for you, stay in your basement apartment in A2

  73. Burt Reynolds
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I have to admit, Dan is pretty much spot on with his assessment. One of the interesting things I’ve noticed about Ypsi is the hypocricy of many of it’s residents. Not all, but some. There is definitely an ideology to conform to the “hipster movement” while negating anyone who doesn’t as one who conforms. By and large, the residents of Ypsi are extremely friendly people, much more than A2. At the same time there is a large movement of “hipsters” who are not so friendly. I like to wear Polos. I like baseball caps. Actual baseball caps with MLB teams on them. I like fashionable jeans. I like nice watches. Often I feel as I am looked down as a lesser person by the “hipsters.” Maybe they think I am not as smart of them. Maybe they think I don’t add enough value to the community. All I know is I am willing to bet, by and large, that I have more education. A nicer home. A more solid retirement. A job that offers a shit ton of good to the community. And most notably, a more wide open thought process and ability to rationalize. Sure I can’t quote a single philosopher, or even name any more than have been mentioned in this thread, but that doesn’t make me any less.

    Remember the scene from Good Will Hunting, when Will blasts the dude in the bar for regurgitating out of a textbook? That’s kind of what a hispter feels like to me. Also, if anyone does not understand what a hipster is, you are the hipster.

  74. Dan
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    “Remember the scene from Good Will Hunting, when Will blasts the dude in the bar for regurgitating out of a textbook? That’s kind of what a hispter feels like to me. Also, if anyone does not understand what a hipster is, you are the hipster.”


  75. meta proxy
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The only snag here is that hipsters aren’t responsible for much murder, while you liberals are.

  76. Snorf
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    “I like fashionable jeans.”

    I know I’m only helping you make your point, but Jesus.

  77. Oliva
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I’m way behind on adding my thoughts about the Color Run. We got notices by mail, on bright fuschia paper to make sure they were seen, alerting us to the streets that would be closed, asking for our patience, showing the route. So there was a heads-up here anyway. We went walking around to see the runners and walkers, and what a glorious sight it was, so many jolly people, so much good feeling being churned up, warm neighborliness too. And the volunteers were efficient and supercharged re. cleanup.

    And then down in Depot Town was the Growing Hope bicycle-powered smoothie operation. Talk about jolly–and delicious. It was a wonderful morning in Ypsilanti, bringing serious dustings of joy. I’m sorry to hear it caused crankiness in some people!

  78. kjc
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    “[because Dan and I feel similarly insecure] i have to agree Dan is pretty much spot-on with his assessment. [because I’m defensive] One of the interesting things I’ve noticed about Ypsi is the hypocricy of many of it’s residents. [because some people don’t find it appealing that] I like to wear Polos. I like baseball caps. Actual baseball caps with MLB teams on them. I like fashionable jeans. I like nice watches. Often I feel as I am looked down as a lesser person by the “hipsters.” [and this makes me feel bad].”

    “[i know this is just utter defensiveness projected into the world in a disgustingly materialistic way but] Maybe they think I am not as smart of them. Maybe they think I don’t add enough value to the community. All I know is I am willing to bet, by and large, that I have more education. A nicer home. A more solid retirement. A job that offers a shit ton of good to the community. And most notably, a more wide open thought process and ability to rationalize. [and no i do not realize that my ability to rationalize in my own defense is the most notable thing on display here.]”

    our whole lives someone can make us feel insecure IF WE LET THEM. it’s grade school stuff. the onus is not on others to make you feel included. they’re being themselves, in whatever way, authentically or not. you feel sidelined, so you stand off to the side and judge and pontificate about other human beings in reductive ways that make you look silly. you’re self-marginalized and screaming about being negated by others. get over this shit already. go be around the people you fear/despise. some of them even wear shirts with sports teams.

    seriously, therapy 101. ask yourself why you care. (clue: it’s not because you’re a crusader against the hypocrisy of others.)

  79. Burt Reynolds
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink


    I see you put alot of thought into that response. Thanks for reading. I was not whining, but rather making an observation. Am I allowed to make an observation, or is that me caring too much? Re-read my post, then yours. Now ask yourself, who does it appears that cares the most or is being defensive? Therapy 101, you say.

  80. Burt Reynolds
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink


    Yeah I noticed I typed that after I his post. Made me cringe as well. I feel as I should be wearing Jordache jeans. Gawd…

  81. Patrick E.
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I think it’s great that people find ways to fulfill themselves through creative expression, physical exercise, intellectual dialogue, and other activities (which are not mutually exclusive). I find it to be truly unfortunate that some of the folks who post on this site appear to have such limited experiences and self-confidence that they can’t allow themselves to accept other people’s lifestyles, activities, and belief systems and, instead, choose to exist within such dogmatic and limited ways of thinking that their only recourse is to attempt to personally attack other people (on an online forum).
    p.s. In my opinion, being a “hipster” or “weird” or “normal” or “punk” or “hippie” or “metal” or a “librarian” or a “mom” or a “dad” or however you choose to self-identify (or, in the case of this discussion, how you are labeled by others who insist on reusing the same tired vocabulary (out of context)) isn’t an inherently positive or negative attribute – your actions and they way you interact with your environment (including other people) is what determines your character. Besides the fact that commenting on someone’s motivation for doing something can only ever be speculative if you make no effort to engage in a dialogue with that person regarding their intentions, I can find nothing inherently wrong with being weird for the sake of being weird just as I have no problem with someone having fun for the sake of having fun, being intelligent for the sake of being an intelligent person, going on a bike ride for the sake of enjoying a bike ride, or hosting a public event just for the sake of holding a public event for other people to engage in.

  82. Dan
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Being weird for the sake of being weird is being an attention whore. “Hey look at me, I’m wearing a suit made of meat!” If you gained pleasure from kissing another man’s beard, then that is your personal preference, and it’s fine and all. But it’s fucking weird.

  83. Posted July 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Dan, I think that’s called “show business.” Lady Gaga sold a lot of tickets with her meat suit. I’ve performed on TV (I wore wool, not meat), so I suppose I’m an “attention whore,” since I wanted the audience to pay attention to what I was doing. So is watching TV okay to you, but performing on it not okay?

  84. Dan
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    “I’ve performed on TV (I wore wool, not meat), so I suppose I’m an “attention whore,” since I wanted the audience to pay attention to what I was doing. ”

    You made my point for me. You wanted people to pay attention to your performance. Not to your meat suit. Where is the performance art or show business in kissing a beard? Face it, these people just like people looking at them and wondering whats wrong with their heads.

    Once again, being weird is not being creative. It’s actually being lazy from an artistic standpoint. You have not talent or artistic ability, so you come up with some ridiculous way to make people pay attention to you. Like riding a two-seater bike alone back and forth down cross street.

  85. Posted July 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    This is kind of cool…Dan & I agree on something! I knew we’d meet somewhere, you and I. Whilst working in Detroit, I passed someone dressed like a complete weirdo, at least to me. (I am not going to describe it, because honestly I would offend someone and I don’t want to do that). So I was staring at her weird shit in her ears and she said, and I quote, “Bitch, whatchu looking at?” Now I wanted to say that I was looking at the most fucked up broad I’d seen in ages, but I didn’t want to get my ass kicked, so I just hurried on along.

    But dude seriously, if you dress like a freak-show, please be prepared to be stared at and no, you are not some artistic wunderkind. I also think if you dress to show off your boobs (which I do, on occasion), you should also be prepared to be boob-peeped.

  86. kjc
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    well “complete weirdo” kind of offends me. but then so does blandness, fear of individuality, mindless conformity, etc. this is before i found out that the stars were aligned against sad sacks in polo shirts wearing, of all things, watches.

    is it still ok for kids to be “weird” or is that a gateway to beard kissing as an adult?

  87. Dan
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink


    a few points.

    #1, being weird is fine. Just dont call it “art” and dont expect people to take you seriously. Acknowledge that you want the attention it provides, but you have no other means of gaining said attention.

    #2, being weird just so that you feel you are a nonconformist, actually makes you a conformist. It’s not “unique” to wear Wayfarers and skinny jeans and a scarf in the summer. It’s not “unique” to call suburban people racists and gun toting tea-partiers.

  88. Posted July 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Patti, I’m not sure that you and Dan do agree. He seems to be saying that it’s wrong to dress to attract attention, which you apparently do.

    Sometimes weirdness and creativity do go hand in hand. I’m reading “Moby-Dick” now, and man, is it weird. Masterpieces aren’t normal.

  89. Dan
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    ” I also think if you dress to show off your boobs (which I do, on occasion), you should also be prepared to be boob-peeped.”


  90. Patrick E.
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    By referencing the phrase “being weird for the sake of being weird” my intention was not to imply “being weird for the sake of attracting attention”; I was speaking of enjoying an experience for what it is, without expectations. There are several reasons why a person may choose to engage in any behavior, garnering attention being only one of them. You have repeatedly referenced MY personal behavior in the context of this thread, but have yet to inquire as to any of MY personal motives; by doing so, you are creating YOUR own narrative that has absolutely no place in any objective version of reality because YOUR narrative is, again, based entirely on YOUR speculation and YOUR own personal biases. By this logic, I should be berating you for posting on this website because I feel that you are doing it for any number of reasons I find objectionable.

  91. maryd
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    hipster, weird dressers? boob peeping? Funny I was out of town for this event. It is amazing…- the amount of attendance. Little kids in my neighborhood hung colorful balloons to celebrate it! More traffic than Ypsi has seen for any event in years! My daughter ran and sent me a photo of the crowd that amazed her. At another very cool event, the Hiawatha Music Fest, (Marquette, MI) where the woman at the gate answered my query about what we could bring in…”Anything…Alcohol, yes…” she nods, and then says “We cannot afford the liability insurance so you must bring your own (and after I picked my jaw up off the ground I smiled widely).

  92. Dan
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    “I should be berating you for posting on this website because I feel that you are doing it for any number of reasons I find objectionable.”


    thats exactly what you just did.

  93. Renee
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    If you get in early you pay less. It’s really about getting people outside and ACTIVE. Sure it costs money, but if it gets 15,000 people moving for 3 miles. I think that’s just awesome.

    Adddtionally, to shut down roads, have cops around, pay insurance fees for just-in-case injuries does cost money too. Needless to say, 13,000 is still VERY low.

  94. Posted September 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    We tried to “register” for the color run in Salt Lake City which takes place tomorrow, Saturday, September 15th, 2012 several times. We tried to register as a team, which requires four individual registrations first.

    Even though the registration says it is “open”, and will allow you to download and fill out all the docs to register, when you try to register, you get a message that says “registration is closed”. It has been saying this for over a week. If you try to call for support, you get a recorded message. If you try to call for support on team registration and fees, you sit on hold endlessly.

    Not worth the time, effort, or hassle, and any organization that handles “support” the way they do is only interested in one thing: your fees.

  95. Steve Kosler
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s coming back to Ypsilanti!

  96. Watching Ypsi
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Just like Gus Macker, charge it’s citizens money to participate and bolt town with literally dump trucks full of money. Scraps for the city if any, and merchants having to deal with it’s businesses closed for the time.
    How about at least 50/50 of the money?
    Watch the promoters scream bloody murder and disappear.
    What a scam.

  97. elegant tim
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    It’s coming back to Ypsi, and I think that we should jam it.

  98. josh
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    it is always about the money, about the profit, the whole ‘NON-PROFIT CHARITY’ card is always pulled out… but it’s a farce, a sham, people are doing things to make a buck not to help our world or assist humanity out of genuine selfless SERVICE

  99. Elviscostello
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Hey all,
    I happen to run in charity races pretty often. I know that the cut is not huge, but any dollars help. I’ve run for hospice assistance, medical supplies for Haiti, funds for Mott children’s hospital, Komen cancer, etc…would I have given cash to these charities? Probably not, but the opportunity to get up early, run with a bunch of nice people, and see a town I’d usually skip, and eat in a restaurant there, makes my time and dollars worthwhile.
    Sorry you don’t want us in my hometown.

  100. Kym Rogers
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    In the past, I have paid out God only knows how much on tequilla and excedrin. No more, now I am sober and happy to pay $50.00 for strangers to throw paint as I run by…add another color tee shirt to the wall!

    Trying to make everyone happy is like trying to nail jello to a tree.

  101. Nashville Runner
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I ran in The Color Run in Nashville last weekend. Before signing up I tried to find out what charity they were partnering with and how much of the fee went to the charity. I couldn’t find anything online. I went ahead and signed up for the race, figuring it had to be a reasonable amount. The race was actually not THAT fun. There were so many people and they had groups staggered to start. Thankfully I was in the second group, but there was still a HUGE line of people waiting to even start by the time I finished the race. It seemed most people walked the race too so it was difficult to weave in and out of the crowd. After the race, besides cups of water, that’s all there was. No bananas, oranges, Gatorade,…—nothing. You could buy food and you could buy color run gear.

    A couple days after the race I e-mailed The Color Run asking how much money went to the charity (they partnered with just one). They responded and told me the amount is not disclosed to the public, but it depends on the charities involvement and assured me the charity was well taken care of. So, I e-mailed the charity to ask. Non-profits have to disclose that type of information. They responded the amount they get works out to be about $1 per runner! There are 15,000 runners, so $15,000. They also have to provide volunteers for the event. Meanwhile, at $35-50 per runner, The Color Run gets well over $500,000. Ridiculous.

  102. Watching Ypsi.
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it is 1 of many legal scams shoved down our throats. Total BS.

  103. Posted April 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I just looked at their site. This looks like a scam. I’m pretty sure they had overhead they have to pay for city services and security along with insurance and staff, but 2% is pretty slim.

  104. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    If you look at Riverside Park on google maps, the close up shot was taken the day of the color run.

  105. Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    What could possibly by fun about this?

  106. Watching Ypsi
    Posted April 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Wealthy people create and spot trends and know how to legally scam the system for nothing, but pure Cash, that’s all it is.

  107. stupdog
    Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    cool, bitches

  108. 734
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s coming back on May 11.

  109. Posted May 19, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Why would anyone want to run and breathe heavily through clouds of chemical dust? I absolutely guarantee you that no one knows the effect of that crap on lung tissue or the body. The web site says its “safe”. The same website that talks about how they donate to charity (but doesn’t reveal how much, and it turns out to be almost nothing). I’m sure these people have carefully assessed the effect of breathing in this mixture of artificial chemicals into your lungs (sarcasm). If I want to run through clouds of chemical dust I’ll run in the Beijing Fun Run.

  110. Katie McManners
    Posted June 7, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I am boycotting all corporate franchise runs. They are, at best, deceptive about their contributions to charity and, at worst, exploitative. The more I research these types of runs, the more I lean toward the opinion EXPLOITATIVE.

  111. ikad
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Giving back to the community is just one part of the Color Run. It doesn’t try to come off like a big charity…it’s a way for people to be healthy, have fun, do something different and of course some of the money goes to local charities.

    This blog was written by someone who admittedly did not even follow up with those charities anyway, so let’s hold our judgement. Especially since there are PLENTY of ventures that make millions, and even billions for their owners and giving back to the community is the last thing on their minds.

    With all the talk about obesity in this country, a fun way to get people active would seem like a positive thing. Throw water, wine, “paint” (colored cornstarch) whatever…it’s just fun.

  112. Robert Davis
    Posted June 19, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    you’re full of BS. A very tiny tiny amount of PROFITS of these Color Run Owners was given to Charity.
    I fail to see you listing all the charities that enjoyed the Color Runs Money?

    As far as fun and helping to get people healthy, yes, I agree; but how about these cities getting half the PROFITS. These Color Run Pirates are like Gus Mackers Racket. Literally leaving town after using the city/cities, with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Having the events run several years, make the profits jump easily into the millions.

    Go pump your BS somewhere else, fact guy.

    Good luck to all.

  113. lya
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Harsh dude…no judgement but really if u looked a little bit better of the situation you might realize that it’s more for some people then “running and getting shit thrown in There face” some people just want to live and so what if thats one of the ways they want to have Funn by Getting paint thrown at them. . Lighten up !!! Maybe you should go to one some time :) like I said no judgement :)

  114. Naan
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Lol….I just found this blog via google “Color Run + dumb.” Got dragged to one of these by a friend today. I’ve done many charity runs. This was not a charity run.

    This was one of the worst concepts I’ve ever seen. When I show up for a race…I won’t win best in group. I won’t even place. I know that. But I want to run against my personal best. Alas…no time chips. No timing in fact so no way to use your own timing chip. How is that even a “run?”

    My friend LOVED this thing. She was squealing like…lets get all colored !! I got a huge laugh at her pointing out “colored people” on the drive in. But this “race” must be marketed to children or retards as those are the only two groups I can imagine being that entertained by being flashed bright colors.

    Her enthusiasm for this thing was truly embarrassing. The fact that I participated and spent money on it is even more embarrassing.

  115. amber
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Its a positive thing. So of course, lets shit all over it. The color run makes it clear they are for profit.

  116. adam
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree. That dust gets in your lungs and your eyes. Someone said the dust is lead based from China. Wouldn’t surprise me if color run dust causes cancer

  117. Runner
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    You know what I will never understand? Why do people (Such as this author) think it’s any of their business how much money or what percentage goes to charities? What!? You mean the charity has $13,000 more dollars than it did before the run came to town? How dare they! (Sarcasm)

    The better question is how much of your money do you donate each week to charity? The amount of time you wasted researching to find out what percentage was given away you could have actually done something productive to help someone else… I’ve noticed those who whine the most about others are also the least generous with their own funds. Bottom line is this company:

    Raised awareness
    Gave a large chunk of cash to charities (Cash they’d otherwise not have had
    Brought lots of people to your town
    Free advertising for lots of businesses
    Employees people (Yea, jobs!)
    Spent a crap ton of cash in your city – (Ever taken the time to see how much money is spent to run one of these events!!??)

    Yet you want to whine about how much much they kept… Tell you what. How about you take a glance at how much cash is dropped on marketing large events, and permits, and insurance, and rentals, and support, and printing, and refunds, and staff, and transport. (I am an event organizer – I can tell you it’s not cheap)

    I saw the comment “They should give half the profit to the cities” – What sort of mindset does it take to spew such garbage?? You giving half your income away? So because someone worked for years to build something up – When it finally pays off, they should give half of it away? Explain that logic to me please!

  118. Marie
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I’m about a half a year late to this conversation, but thought I’d add my two cents. I hadn’t paid attention to the color run until today, when I saw that they were going to start registering. When I realized that this was a for-profit endeavor and that the tickets were expensive by my standards I was taken aback (which is how I ended up reading this blog post and the comments).

    I think the problem with this is that we associate 5K runs with charity events so we’ve come to expect that. If you think of it as entertainment instead, it’s more palatable. For me, it’s the only thing that has *ever* made me think about running more than 30 feet. After all runners always look miserable, and it’s bad for your knees and hips. But this looks fun, and there’s a party at the end. I don’t know if there are martini’s, but I have to say, it might motivate me to get in shape enough to complete a 5K run/walk. And there’s value in that, in any individual being motivated to get healthier.

    As for the hipster discussion. I think the term “hipster” is like “classy”. It says more about the person talking than about who they are speaking of. That said, I was at Mitten Fest last winter and it was filled with shy, librarian-type women with glasses, buns in their hair, and Victorian blouses. It occurred to me that there cannot be that many shy, awkward librarian types in the population and that these same women, in a different time, might just as easily be dressed like Pamela Anderson, depending on the current fashion. But trends and fashion will always be that way….

    My feeling is anyone who pooh-poohs something that–at its base–is life affirming, is the one with the problem, whether it’s underground hipster dinners in Detroit or an event where classy suburbanite people run and are happy.

  119. Mark
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    to me it make more or less sense as running in a regular race. Why pay $50 to run in any race you don’t ever have a hope of winning? Why not just save the money and run the same distance yourself or with some friends? Because you like to have a crowded course around you when you run or like to compete against people you don’t know? or so you can get a stupid t-shirt? or a medal for not winning? I don’t get it. And then people even spend hundreds of dollars on hotels and travel to run these races too. This is more idiotic than the color runs IMO.

  120. mary Yott
    Posted April 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    God Loves color and a cheerful giver! I pray it’s truely charity and not a deep pocket of some clever greedy person…God knows and is a fair Judge…so, God bless this cheerful giver and bless the day and all the runners. My Jesus be glorified <3 Amen

  121. Sure Why Not
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Are the coming back to Ypsilanti this summer?

  122. Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    While I agree the idea of inhaling GMO corn starch with coloring in it seems kind of silly, where on earth did you get the idea that all of the entry fees were “profit”?

    Races have expenses… the overall organization has rent, utilities, internet, email and staff.

    Even small volunteer run races still have to pay for websites, marketing, mailing, phone…

    I don’t know what percentage of their actual profits are donated, but you have a completely unrealistic idea of what profit is.

    Once the overhead (as described above) is paid there is a lot more.

    City permits, security, money for extra police/fire/medical staffing, food, numbers/bibs, timing chips, trash can/fence/gate/table rentals marketing and the weird stuff they throw on people.

    Do you have any idea how much it costs to rent enough port-a-potties for that many people?

    If you’re going to make a point using numbers, it is best to have the actual numbers…


  123. doreen
    Posted June 16, 2014 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    1:50 in video link, powder paint thrower is wearing a mask. Why?

  124. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted August 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    With so many in Ann Arbor glowing over the Color Vibe run, I did a quick search for “Is The Color Vibe Run A Racket” (which it really seems like) and the first thing that comes up is Mark’s column.

  125. Posted August 24, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for letting me know, Bob. I’m happy that, thanks to Google, the old article still has life.

  126. Sarah Hill
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    For some of us, this is all we have.

  127. Unkown
    Posted August 31, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Have to say i really enjoyed reading all of these comments. Honestly good portion made me laugh. Saw some religion stuff saw some arguments of what goes to non profit organizations and why people want stuff thrown in there face.
    Ill put it in this perspective: People pay $50 to do one race. Why because they want to have some fun Unlike traditional 5k races this has a twist, a giant 5k dance party!
    The Color Rave 5k run is mainly for fun. You go to a club might spend $50 to have fun for the night. If you go to church and are a member you are supposed to give up 10% of your entire gross income to the church. So honestly whats the difference…
    No need to judge what people do.
    The stuff they throw on you is harmless. Unless you know you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the powder. The website dose give you a break down of what is in the powder. I also saw a comment why is someone wearing a mask while throwing the powder in the video…. Its part of the rave culture. Just one of those crazy things ravers wear . Again if the powder was harmless enough to hurt people then the event would shut down… have some sense…
    Majority of Raves are for profit regardless You have to understand the costs. Sure each event may rack in anywhere from $600k to $1Million. However, like i seen in some previous posts you have to get permits, theses permits depending on the city can cost anywhere from 25k to 100k possibly more. Then having live Djs… depending who they have at the event. Then you have security, trash pick up, utilities, the lists goes on and on.
    Also think the benefit this brings to the town/city. Brings in a lot of business!!
    Hey also be grateful that they give some to charity. When it comes to for profit companies they rather not donate. So be thankful they donate, its better then nothing!
    I myself am a raver, these types of events are just to allow people to have fun :). Don’t hate! Maybe if you tried it maybe you might like it. you never know!

  128. Robin
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Colordash was just in our town and I tried getting everyone to boycotting them. FB page Sjc is too Bright. Let’s Party and Donate Locally. I was sickened we would give “50%” of our donation to these idiots throwing cornstarch at us in our own riverwalk park. Sad thing we still had 200 to 300 runners. People fall for the hype and they hardly even mentioned the shelter. Oh but he did say he has to make a living too. What? It sucked

  129. DAY
    Posted May 29, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The Downtown Association of Ypsilanti is in search of volunteers that like to have fun and help out their local community! The Color Run Ypsilanti will take place on Saturday, June 27 at 8 am through the streets of Ypsilanti. Over 10,000 runners are anticipated. The organizers use local volunteers to help manage the event and for each volunteer shift completed community groups receive $40. Won’t you help the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti raise money to support events in downtown Ypsilanti by volunteering for his unusual event? You could help with registration, handing out race packets, selling items from the Color Run Store, tossing colored cornstarch on runners, or helping with clean up.

    WE NEED YOU! It is easy to sign up. The link below is exclusively for DAY volunteers. Just click on it, fill in the time you are available to help, and add your contact info. That’s it! You will receive an email reminder as the event approaches.

  130. Frosted Flakes
    Posted May 29, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink


  131. Chrissy Danguilan
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    This is a dissertation worthy assessment. imho. Spot on. I have wondered about the degree of aggression when people throw the color at passers by. Some people get it thrown in their face…others don’t.

    The powder gets in their noses and inhaled. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. It is commodified fetishism. It is co-opted culture. But more than that? It’s just plain stupid.

  132. Robert Davis
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Chrissy, the color run for profit head guy bolts with hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in multiple cities, get it. He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

  133. chris
    Posted September 27, 2015 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    I know this is an old article, but I’ve figured out the entire purpose of these color runs, & that’s for the hipsters to get cliche instagram shots of themselves covered in colorful powder, whilst patting themselves on the back for their so-called activism. Even though it’s really about getting that instagram photo op. I mean really, color run shots on social medial are even more cliche than the ubiquitous legs on the beach shot, latte art shots, or random cat shots.

  134. Kat
    Posted March 9, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Someone has started a petition to get the Color Run out of downtown Ypsi.

    “We have just created a petition to Move The Color Run OUT of Downtown Ypsilanti due to the stress and problems it causes year after year in its current location. If you feel the same way, please consider signing and sharing the petition! Thanks. ”

  135. Casey
    Posted May 21, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Because they want the attention, regardless of any good will generated by the event.

    If I participate in a typical run, nobody knows about it afterward, which means for me to brag about it I have to wait for someone to bring it up, or bring it up myself, which can come off as arrogant (runners are always talking about themselves anyway).

    But if I’m walking around covered in colored dust, I’m throwing the fact that I participated in a color run in everyone’s faces. They look insane if they see me and don’t ask about it. So it becomes a form of plausible deniability – “I didn’t bring up the run, you did – I just happen to be covered in the innards of a color printer.”

    And yes, people do keep it on all day. I walked around Philadelphia on the day of a morning color run and saw people not only eating lunch covered in the dust but also eating dinner. And always in restaurants with street-side seating, because where’s the benefit of showing off the fact that you participated in a race if the maximum number of people can’t see the results?

6 Trackbacks

  1. By WTF is the deal with The Color Run « she wolf on October 25, 2012 at 10:01 am

    […] Basically what goes down in TCR is that you wear white at the beginning and, while you run a 5k, volunteers and staff members of TCR throw shit at you that makes you look like you got pooped out by a gay rainbow unicorn when you cross the finish line.  That’s it.  It’s kind of a fruitier, more aerobic version of paintball.  You pay a registration fee and these get donated to many local charities.  I imagine no charity really gets that significant of a cut, nor do participants actually raise any money from donors.  Many color runs sell out, which means the amount of revenue they can generate is very finite.  Overall, it doesn’t seem like the most profitable charity event.  For an interesting breakdown on the profits of the color run check out Mark Maynard’s take. […]

  2. By Still a scam, the Color Run returns to Ypsi on May 10, 2013 at 8:33 am

    […] and trash.[note: Those who are interested in going deeper on this are encouraged to read through the 100+ comments which were left when this post first ran.] This entry was posted in Detroit, Other, Ypsilanti and […]

  3. […] going to try something new this year, and forgo my annual rant about the Color Run, which is scheduled to take place in Ypsilanti again tomorrow morning. It still bothers me that […]

  4. […] out for the parade. We got back an $11,500 estimate for that event alone. That might be OK for the Color Run and their 15,000 runners, who pay $50 a pop, but we were hoping for more like 200 runners at $25 […]

  5. By Stay inside, Ypsilanti on June 27, 2015 at 10:11 am

    […] case it’s not clear, this post is about the Color Run. Yes, we’re under attack, but they’ll leave once they’ve got our money. So you […]

  6. […] of carrying the Totally Awesome Fest banner… Yes, just as the terrible people behind the Color Run took a lovely Indian festival and found a way to commoditize it and sell it to American […]

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