The Sydney Color Run – What you need to know

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The Color Run is coming back to Sydney next month, and amidst all the hype and excitement, I thought it was a good opportunity to summarise some of the information we gathered from our previous runs for information.

In addition to what the Color Run recommends…here is a beginner’s guide to the top 3 things you really need to know if you are considering being part of all the action:

1. Breathing in the color dust is hazardous to your health. I can say this, as we took samples of the air we breathed whilst running the Newcastle ColorRun and the Brisbane Color Run. The majority of the samples we collected exceeded the exposure standard. The methodology I used is here and here is what it looks like during the run in Newcastle and Brisbane.

Some sample results were low, but these all had to do in the way that certain people approached the ColorRun course. You can reduce the amount of Color you breathe in, if you don’t linger in the Color Zones and progress directly through these with volunteers throwing Color at only chest height (ie: not at your head), and if you skip the Color Throw at the end.

It is possible that you can complete the run without being exposed to the color dust above the Exposure Standard, but it all centres around you not actually getting covered in dust. This is pretty much the complete opposite point of why you would attend in the fist place. I mean who want’s to pay $60 to run 5K around Centennial park when you can do it for free on any other day?

2. Don’t take the kids. Some people are more susceptible to developing ill-health effects from being exposed to hazardous substances. Babies and young children fall into this category. As do people who suffer from allergies, or allergy-type symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or if you suffer from asthma. If you fall into any of these categories….don’t go.

3. Volunteers are the most at-risk group. Based on the three ColorRun’s I have attended previously, volunteers were not provided with respiratory protection and stayed within the colour stations (dust clouds) for over 2-hours…compared to us who dashed through them pretty quickly.

During our most recent run in Brisbane, some of the volunteers wore respirators, but these appeared to be poorly fitted and not everyone was wearing them. If you are considering becoming a volunteer, then I strongly recommend asking ColorRun personnel to provide appropriate respiratory protection for you along with training and instruction on how to use it, and a fit test to ensure it is fitted correctly. Using PPE such as respirators is always the last line of defence when it comes to protecting your health, so the easiest thing would be to eliminate the risk entirely and just don’t do it!

2 thoughts on “The Sydney Color Run – What you need to know

    Mmwhaaa Goodbye! « The Young Occupational Hygienist said:
    February 4, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    […] Snapshots that were published each week. I also learnt that participating in the Color Run was hazardous to my health. But probably the biggest thing I learnt though in writing this blog over the course of a year, was […]

    Mark adn Debbie Smith said:
    February 24, 2015 at 11:15 am

    My wife and I were both very heavily involved in a Run Or Dye event this past summers. We worked as volunteers at two dye throwing stations, the first and and last ones stationed close together. Our exposure to the dust was very heavy. We both are experiencing what I would discribe as a chronic congestive cough with wheezing. We are going to discuss it with our Doctor. I have been yo a Pulminologist, Ear, Nose & Throat, Allergist, Family D.O Dr., and Infectious Disease Doctors all with no real results. Is there some other medical help we should look into? We would not rule out legal action if necessary.

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