Step-by-step: Colour run
Colour runs are a fun run with a difference - bucketfuls
of brightly coloured powder! They have been growing in popularity
as a public event, but not everyone can attend city-held runs, and
there are often age restrictions. This is where you can fill a gap
in your community, hosting an event that will promote healthy
activity while being enjoyed by the whole family. Runners,
marshals and spectators can all throw powder, which is made from
cornflour and non-toxic dye, and washes away easily without
staining clothes or the ground.
- Six months before: Agree a date with the
school and ensure a key-holder is available on the day. Book radio
station to attend. Book St John Ambulance (or equivalent). Start
booking external stalls and portaloos, if using. Decide on the
route, distance and timings.
- Three months before: Put together an
information pack with details of the run and T&Cs. Prepare an
entry form. Finalise the entry fee and registration process, and
start advertising the event and selling tickets through an online
platform or in person, possibly offering an early-bird
- Two months before: Continue promoting
the event, both at school and publicly through social media.
Approach local companies to ask for sponsorship. Contact local
press to come and take photographs. Work out how many volunteers
and marshals are required and put out a request to parents and
staff. Collate a list of volunteers and allocate roles. Check PTA
supplies for any extras such as charcoal for the barbecue and face
- One month before: Put up the early bird
ticket price, if using. If planning to sell alcohol, apply for a Temporary Event Notice. Agree floats for any
refreshments stalls with the treasurer. Book a local fitness
instructor to lead a group warm-up before the run.
- Two weeks before: Finalise runner numbers
and order coloured powder, plus medals, certificates, T-shirts and
wristbands. Running Imp can supply all of the above.
Continue to promote the event via banners and posters. Send a press
release to local media. Ensure you have enough helpers on the
- One week before: Create signage for the
event and make sure the registration area, toilets and race
starting point are clear. Compile registration lists, splitting
into groups by surname.
- On the day: Collect floats from the bank.
Measure and mark out the route clearly to ensure participants are
running the distance advertised. Set up your refreshment
stalls and a registration tent or desk. Open for registration
around an hour before the event begins, and factor in time for
participants to take part in a warm-up. Have medals/certificates
- After the event: Have a post-event
debrief to discuss what worked well and what may need tweaking for
next time. Thank your volunteers after the event and ask for
feedback. Give details about how much the event raised and how
this will be spent.
Tips and advice
- Date: It can be too hot for this kind of event
in the summer, so spring or autumn work well. Ensure the event
doesn't clash with local runs.
- The route: Decide whether the route will have
a separate start and finish, or be a circuit with laps. Consider
whether these should differ for different ages.
- Charging: You may not make much profit from
the entry fee, but there are other ways to boost profits. Make it
clear what's included in the entry fee, e.g. colour, a medal, a
wristband or even a T-shirt.
- Application pack: This should include event
details, a sponsor form, T&Cs, an application form and possibly
FAQs. Advise participants to wear light clothing for maximum
colourful effect, and sunglasses to protect their eyes from the
- Licensing: If playing music, make sure you
have a PRS licence (the school's may cover it). If selling alcohol,
ensure you have a TEN, and, depending on numbers, rope off a
serving area limited to 500 people.
- Equipment: Encourage sign-ups early to help
you work out how much coloured powder to buy. See if any local
businesses can supply medals for free. Consider hiring portaloos to
avoid a mess in the school.
- Boost profits: Sell refreshments, snacks, or a
BBQ. Have some stalls to engage spectators, and
make sure you have plenty of extra bags of colour to sell on the
- Sponsorship: Encourage participants to collect
sponsorship by setting up an event page on a platform such as JustGiving
- Volunteers: Volunteers are required to
register participants, act as marshals, run stalls, hand out water
or medals, set up and clear away. Talk to organisers of any local
running events to see if they can help.
- Registration: Make sure your registration
lists are organised in a logical order, split into manageable
chunks. Boost the atmosphere with music or a group warm-up.
'Our PTA held a junior colour run in October last year. As other
local runs didn't cater for under-16s, we decided to open the event
up to the local community.
We held a 1k 'family run' for children and accompanying adults,
followed by a 2k 'junior run' for under-16s only. Tickets were £5
and included a bag of colour, a bottle of water and a
We opened bookings in July to give people time to arrange
sponsorship. We encouraged those from our school to raise money for
the PTA, but other participants could obtain sponsorship for other
causes. We publicised the event in our PTA newsletter, on Facebook,
with posters around the school and banners around our town.
We set up the course on the school field the day before the
event, and on the day we set up a BBQ, a bar, a tuck shop and a hot
drinks stall. We also had extra bags of colour to sell to runners
and spectators. When runners signed in they received their bag
of colour and a Tyvek wristband. A local fitness club led a group
warm-up, and we invited our local community radio station along,
which really enhanced the mood.
Almost 300 runners took part. Costs were high, so we didn't
expect to make a huge profit, however we raised £838 from the
event, and £1,975 in sponsorship for our PTA! It was deemed a great
success, and we're running it again this year.'
Sarah Everson, Secretary, Friends of Halsford Park
Primary, East Grinstead, West Sussex (415 pupils)
'We held our first colour run last September, using a 1k circuit
around our school and field. We began publicising the event in
April on Facebook, as well as advertising in local sports clubs to
make it a community event.
Outlay for a colour run is costly, so we encouraged participants
to sign up and pay in advance. We used six 20kg tubs of colour for
120 runners and a similar number of spectators. Early-bird tickets
for adults were £15 (which included a T-shirt), increasing to
£21.80 a month before. Children's entry was £5.
We offered paper masks and latex gloves to anyone worried about
asthma or allergies, and we advised participants to wear sunglasses
to protect their eyes.
A local Zumba instructor led a half-hour warm-up, and we
encouraged runners to aim for five laps, while younger children
could do just one. Children who finished before the adults joined
in with throwing colour.
We ran a barbecue, a bar, and a cake stall, and also boosted
profits by selling whistles, sunglasses, tutus, wigs and T-shirts,
plus face-painting and glitter tattoos. At the end we let everyone
loose for group photos with the remaining powder - it was great
fun, and we raised over £700 for the PTA!'
Victoria Kirk, PTA Chair, Poringland Primary School,
Poringland, Norwich (373 pupils)
'We decided to organise a colour run so that the
"usual" helpers could participate in an event rather than be stuck
on a stall. We had a big initial outlay, spending £1,000
on colour powder and buying white T-shirts for all participants.
Our main sponsor, local recruitment company Barrington James, gave
us a lump sum at the start to help with costs. We then asked other
local companies to sponsor a colour station for £50. We charged £3
for pupils to participate and £5 for everyone else. Over 320 people
signed up. We sent out sponsor forms and set up a JustGiving
Nearby secondary school Oakwood let us use their big
sports field and we held the colour run after school on sports day.
BrandIn, a company we're connected with, arranged for two sports
stars to warm up and run with the participants, while local running
team Black Dog Runners encouraged the participants around the
We started with the younger children and accompanying
adults, then progressed by age. The run was only supposed to be 3km
but the children kept asking to go again!
The aim of the day was to keep it fun and
light-hearted. We didn't have winners' medals or call the
participants 'runners' as we felt it would have excluded people.
Whether they walked, crawled, ran or skipped, everyone could have
We offered PTA-run refreshment stalls and three
external food vans. Instead of a normal raffle, we decided to
raffle one prize per hour. The hampers got bigger each time,
culminating in a wheelbarrow full of alcohol and snacks. The winner
got to wheel it home!
We made a profit of just over £6,000, which included
match funding from a local company.
It was such a great community feeling and was enjoyed by all - not
one complaint came through afterwards!'
Hayley Gardner, co-chair, Friends of
Langshott Primary School, Horley, Surrey (420 pupils)
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