4 Things I Learned Doing Run Or Dye With A 4-Year-Old

Run Or Dye events involve you racing 5k while getting caked in colour. But what's it like doing one with a small child in tow...?

Running 5k can be hard enough when you’ve only got yourself to worry about. But at Run or Dye you have to add into the equation a four year old child and people throwing colourful dye all over you. Surely it’s a recipe for disaster? Or maybe not…

1. It wasn’t as one-sided as I worried it might be

Being a bleak and pessimistic type, I spent the 48 hours in the run-up to Run Or Dye convincing myself that Myla would declare herself exhausted 1k into the 5k course, leaving me hoiking her the remaining 4k – not an easy task, as her last growth spurt nudged her out the ‘easily hoikable’ weight class.

Essentially, I’d be running a 5k course with a 40lb backpack on my back, like some stony-faced soldier on a moorlands training run, except my backpack would be constantly whining about having a “hurting hand” and asking if we could get a Calippo later.

But! As it turned it out, she got so hyped-up by the ravey, rainbow-coloured pageantry of the thing that she ran (okay, walked and ran) the entire course, and the whole experience was blessedly hoikless.

Myla puts the miles in

Short version: kids can run further and for longer than you’d think, if you tizzy them up enough first.

2. Getting covered in dye is a laugh

As a grown man of 38 – a man of refined tastes and Marks & Spencer salads – I thought I’d be ‘above’ getting all excited about having multi-coloured dye flung all over me.

“I’ll pretend to be super into it, for Myla,” I said to myself. “But really, she’ll be getting way more out of it than I am.”

You’d have to be dead inside to not get into it like a kid on too many E-numbers.

No, though. Because once they start cranking up that cheesy EDM at the pre-race rave-up and those packets of coloured dye start flying everywhere, you’d have to be dead inside to not get into and start chucking powder around like a kid on too many E-numbers.

Dumb? Yes. Fun? Also yes.

In fact, I was soon so into that I was snatching packets of dye out of Myla’s hand and shoving her out the way so that I could get even more colour on myself!

(I wasn’t really doing that, come on now, calm down.)

3. Wear sunglasses for the dye stations (just put them on, Myla)

If you’re four years-old – chances are you’re not, but let’s just say you are – then you’re probably going to be slow-striding through the dye stations in order to achieve maximum messiness. You may even double-back and run through them a few times, all cheeky.

If you’re four you’ll slow-stride through the dye stations to achieve maximum messiness

While doing this, however, you really should wear sunglasses, or else you’re going to get dye in your eyes.

Myla psyches herself with a pre-race inking

The dye doesn’t hurt and it’s not dangerous, but you will spend the next five minutes rubbing your eyes and squinting and scrunching your face up and your dad will say “I told you to put your sunglasses on!” and you’ll say “Didn’t need them on I’m fine!” but you won’t really be fine, you’ll just be saying that because you’re stubborn.

So put your sunglasses on, bozo.

4. Deffo stick around for the after-party

If you razz round the 5k in 25 minutes, hanging on for the post-event after-party will involve a fair bit of waiting around. However, that sort of serves you right for taking Run Or Dye so seriously.

Trying to smash your PB? It isn’t really the place for that kind of running.

Myla and her mate Tia

But if it takes you just over an hour to traverse the course (as it did for me and Myla, due to the walking/dye-gate shenanigans), then you’ll only need to hang around for 20 minutes or so to witness the best bit of the post-race rave-up – the “dye-throwing song”.

It’s three, two, one and the place explodes in a technicolour mushroom cloud

Basically, this is when the dye-chucking reaches its demented climax: dye-cannons are fired into the assembled dancers and hundreds of packets of dye are chucked into the crowd, arming everyone for the biiig countdown – then it’s “three, two, one” and the place explodes in a technicolour mushroom cloud.

Put your sunglasses on, bozo

It’s pretty ace. In fact, the whole thing is. If you’ve got a kid (or kids) and you want to instil into them the idea that exercise can be fun, you could do a lot worse than Run Or Dye.

They’ll probably enjoy it more than that Nuclear Deathocaust obstacle race you’ve got your eye on, anyway.

To find listings for Run Or Dye and hundreds of other events, visit our Pick A Challenge section


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