All photos by Chantelle D’mello
More than 5,000 people gathered at the Qatar National Convention Center yesterday to take part in Qatar’s first ever 5K Color Run, an event that many called a haze of colors, laughter and adrenaline.
The “happiest 5k on the planet,” which was rescheduled after the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah last month, began promptly at 8:30am on Saturday, with participants lining up in front of QNCC.
Hyped up by music and an energetic MC, runners, clothed in white t-shirts, neon sunglasses, tutus and colorful leg warmers, were let on to the course in groups, lead by a color-splattered Nissan vehicle.
Toddlers in strollers, as well as parents, friends and teams alike could be seen running or walking the 5km race. At each kilometer, droves of volunteers threw different colored powder onto runners.
At the end of the race, a stage and cool-down arena was set up where runners could rest, dance, take pictures, pose with the official color run car or douse themselves in more powder.
The after-race party lasted some three hours, winding down eventually at around 11:30am with a tired yet excited crowd completely covered in color making their way to the QNCC parking lot.
Speaking to Doha News, Urooj Kamran Azmi, a student at Northwestern University in Qatar, said of her experience:
“It was amazing! I never thought I’d run a 5km race, but the whole vibe of the place made it great. It was both fun and healthy, and we really should see more events like this that promote a healthy lifestyle in a vibrant environment.”
The event was organized by Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First, a health campaign run by Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), Qatar Foundation, the Supreme Education Council, Qatar Petroleum, Occidental Petroleum Qatar, ExxonMobil and the Qatar Olympic Committee.
In a statement, WCMC-Q spokesperson Nesreen M. Al-Rifai said:
“It is fantastic to see so many people take part in The Color Run. This is the first event of its kind in Doha and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone had such a great time whilst getting active and healthy and for Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First, that is what this event is all about – making a healthy lifestyle fun and accessible.”
The event, which was first launched internationally in January 2012, has garnered immense traction over the years, and currently stands as the single largest event series in the United States, with over 100 runs held around the world and some one million people participating in 2013 alone.
In Qatar, where entry costs QR140, a portion of each participant’s fee was donated to Educate A Child, a program launched in November 2012 by Qatar Foundation chairperson Sheikha Moza bint Nasser to help children gain quality primary education.
Did you attend the run? Thoughts?