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Does the Color Run mislead participants?

By Xtra - 23 February 2015 13

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The Color Run is a terrific event in terms of being genius marketing and it encourages local community participation.

Both my teenage daughters were in teams with their school friends. It cost me $130 ($65 each). I thought this was expensive for a ‘run’ and to have some coloured powder thrown over you. They assured me that it was a charity race and was for a good cause. But, this turns out not to be entirely the case.  The Color Run is a ‘for-profit’ event- the organisers state that they work with local charities in the city the event is held in.

I don’t know how many people took part yesterday, but I’m guessing around 30,000. With the entry fee and money spent by participants on the coloured bangles, powder etc I’d estimate the event took in $2,000,000.  I expect that the NCA would have charge a fee for use of Commonwealth Park. But, net profit, I’m guessing, would have been pretty good for an event which lasts only a few hours.

Does anyone know of any local charity which benefitted from the event?

Update (24/2/2015): The Color Run allows participants to raise funds for a nominated charity via GoFundraise if they choose to do so (this is in addition to the entry fee). Organisers have confirmed that all funds raised via GoFundraise go directly to the nominated charity. 

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
Does the Color Run mislead participants?
Skyring 11:11 am 01 Mar 15

I noticed that the Canberra Times sent a photographer along, and this time round they didn’t get too close to the powder-bursting, colour-smoke action.

That stuff is murder on cameras and lenses. So fine that it blows right past any seals. You have to disassemble the lens to get the dust off the optics. Not to mention the cost of a sensor scrub.

m_ratt 8:15 pm 28 Feb 15

Alexandra Craig said :

I’m pretty sure the way it works is that they “work with a local charity” meaning that if a local charity sends some volunteers to help on the day, then that charity gets some money.

That’s pretty much exactly what their FAQ says:

CHARITY
Is The Color Run a Charity Event?
No, we are a commercial fun run event, but we do work with local charites in each city we visit. We provide a vehicle for runners to raise funds, should they choose to do so, for our Official Charity. Additionally we give a donation to the local charity in return for providing volunteers to assist with the event.

m_ratt 8:14 pm 28 Feb 15

Bajar said :

The Darwin Colour Run (called Candy Jam) was criticised in 2013 for over-inflating the amount of money they gave to Camp Quality NT. Can’t vouch for the ACT one, but Candy Jam flopped last year and probably won’t happen again for a while.

Candy Jam is not related to ‘Color Run’, other than that it’s a fun run with colour.
Completely separate entities running them (otherwise they’d have the rights to use the Color Run name).
For Candy Jam, 10% of registration fees were donated to either Camp Quality or RSPCA, and participants can fundraise more.

For Color Run, it’s zero%, however fundraising activities are encouraged, and in 2015 if you were successful in fundraising $200+ for the MS Society you could apply to have your registration fee reimbursed (however, it’s likely that reimbursement comes from the MS Society, not the Color Run). http://www.mscolourdash.org.au/

(Last year, the MS Society ran their own event, the MS Colour Dash).

creative_canberran 1:43 am 24 Feb 15

I don’t think they do, they’ve always made clear they’re a for profit operation who make a token donation to a local charity in exchange for the charity’s support.

Personally I think the people who participate in it a shallow fools. Much better ways around to support charities, and cheaper ways to meet people and have fun.

Alexandra Craig 4:57 pm 23 Feb 15

I’m pretty sure the way it works is that they “work with a local charity” meaning that if a local charity sends some volunteers to help on the day, then that charity gets some money.

Genie 4:40 pm 23 Feb 15

I entered last year and had fun in the rain. Would of loved to do it again this year, but it would have cost well over $200 to pay for myself, my sister and my 2 nieces. Just not something I can work into the budget at the moment.

I can’t confirm the amount but it’s only about $5 of the $65 entry fee that is donated to charity. A little disappointing in my opinion. Yes you get a t-shirt, and dyed cornflour to throw at people. But YIKES just too expensive to consider running again. Especially since I’m getting muddy at the Blackhawk Challenge at the end of March and I paid a discounted price of $35.

Although on the charity side I can honestly say I’m a regular Mother’s Day Classic “walker” and I have no idea how much of my entry fee is donated to charity.

dks00k 2:44 pm 23 Feb 15

30 000 participants would be impressive.

The number being tossed around is approx 7000

thisisme 2:27 pm 23 Feb 15

I wanted to participate in the colour run last year because it looked like fun, but once I looked into it decided not to because they were not upfront about where the money was going and what proportion of it was going to end up going to charity/vs the organisers pockets. Many of the other fun runs and challenges (mud runs and such) have the same dubious ‘fundraising’ cover to entice people to enter. Should they not be required to provide detailed information about the funding distribution after the event?

Rollersk8r 2:12 pm 23 Feb 15

Seems every event includes the option to raise funds for charity these days. The Canberra Times Fun Run (and linked events such as City to Surf) all include online options to choose a cause – although they’re not marketed as charity events. Whereas I agree the Colour Run does play more to this angle.

Also – correct me if I’m wrong – but I believe the “Kids for Cancer” cars raffled off in shopping centres is also a for-profit enterprise.

Maya123 2:00 pm 23 Feb 15

The thought of breathing in the coloured dust would put me off. Someone else questioning it.
http://younghygienist.com/2014/05/08/is-the-colorrun-hazardous-to-your-health/

Amy Birchall 1:58 pm 23 Feb 15

Just found out that the local charity partner is the MS Society, and from what I understand participants can choose to raise additional funds for charity if they want to. The FAQ guide on the website specifies that it’s a commercial event though:

“…We are a commercial fun run event, but we do work with local charites in each city we visit. We provide a vehicle for runners to raise funds, should they choose to do so, for our Official Charity. Additionally we give a donation to the local charity in return for providing volunteers to assist with the event.

Can I ‘Run for a Cause’ and support the charity partner?
You sure can! We have heaps of amazing Color Runners who have helped raise funds for some amazing causes! Click here to start fundraising today!”

Bajar 1:58 pm 23 Feb 15

The Colour Run claims to give all money left over from costs back to charities in the community. The Darwin Colour Run (called Candy Jam) was criticised in 2013 for over-inflating the amount of money they gave to Camp Quality NT. Can’t vouch for the ACT one, but Candy Jam flopped last year and probably won’t happen again for a while.

Milly Withers 1:50 pm 23 Feb 15

I didn’t do the Color Run, but I have friends who did and they said that numbers were considerably down on last year.

They suggested that one of the reasons for the decline was that people felt mislead after paying to enter last year’s event and then later learning that it wasn’t raising money for a good cause as they originally believed. $65 is horrendously expensive for what is essentially a lake run with some coloured dye – particularly when the majority of that cash doesn’t go to charity.

I don’t know of the Canberra charities that benefitted, though I’d be interested to find out.

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