The Color Run in S'pore for first time

SINGAPORE - Runner Erli Elfira, in a white T-shirt, was all smiles as she took her first steps at the flag-off of what could be the planet's happiest 5km run.

The 24-year-old student, along with two friends, joined about 8,000 runners in The Color Run, a 5km untimed run which flagged off at about 5pm yesterday.

The first Color Run in the world took place in Phoenix, Arizona in January last year. In Singapore, a total of 4,320kg of coloured powder was pelted at enthusiastic runners who enjoyed the process, which was repeated at 1km intervals.

The run's interesting concept is adopted from the Holi festival, traditionally celebrated in India and Nepal.

The run, which has been organised in 30 countries and 200 cities, has been a hit in many parts of the United States.

It will happen for a second time today, at the same time. In total, the event is expected to attract 16,000 people.

Squeals of laughter and cheers of triumph rang high as participants, doused in bright shades of red, blue and yellow ran past the finish line.

Said Miss Elfira: "My friend has always been very intrigued by this festival, but hesitated to take part while in India because of safety reasons.

"When she heard that The Color Run was coming to Singapore, she made me sign up with her immediately."

She was not the only one anticipating the race.

Singaporeans snapped up about 12,000 spots within three hours of the tickets' release on June 28.

Due to overwhelming demand, another 600 tickets were released about a month later.

The run's founder, Mr Travis Synder, also joined in the fun. "We have had crazy demand for The Color Run event all over the world, but no response can compare with the great people of Singapore," he said in a press release.

"Because of this, I just had to come out to this spectacular city, join the inaugural event and participate with our runners here." The main sponsor of the race, CIMB bank, donated $1 for every runner who participated in the race.

In total, the bank raised $16,000 for Project Happy Feet, a local not-for-profit organisation set up to empower underprivileged youth and children in developing countries.

Although organisers said most of the colour washes out from white T-shirts, that is the last thing Miss Elfira and her friends want.

She said: "We hope it doesn't wash out. We want to keep it as a memento of sorts. I'm definitely going to wear the T-shirt even after the event is over."

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