What the heck happened to races?
On Saturday, I participated in the Cosmic Run at the Raynham Park Dog Track in Raynham, MA which started at 8:00 pm. This would be the first race I had ever done at night but not the first time I’d run with colored powered involved. I did the Color Run last July, yes a hot and steamy July Saturday morning, where the shuttle buses broke down and the venue ran out of water. Even under those unfortunate circumstances though, the Color Run definitely trumped the out of control Cosmic Run for various reasons:
The Cosmic Run was held at the dog track and to make it an official 5K, we were sent running in circles in a large parking lot. Nothing messes with your mind more than seeing other people run around cones multiple times while other people on all sides are doing the same. The pavement was dug up and had a ton of holes in it, making running the dark that much more difficult.
As advertised, the Cosmic Run was considered a “fun run” where you would not be timed so the pressure was off and you were allowed to have a little more fun. I must admit that I do enjoy this aspect of it after competing in a bunch of timed races but my friends and I wanted to at least run it at a easy/steady pace. As we finally approached the start line (about a half hour later because of the many waves of runners, eh, walkers, eh, teeny boppers with cigarettes (we will get to that soon), they let us go and the big crowd started to run. About 10 seconds into the race, about 85% of people stopped and began taking selfies. The rest of us who were running were dodging out of the way of those who just came here to have “fun.” This is where I saw a lot of differences between the Color Run and the Cosmic Run. The Color Run participants, whether they were traditional runners or not, ran most of the time. There was also a real sense of enjoyment and community while running through a densely populated area in the town of Amesbury. Cosmic was a whole different story. There were a lot of young people, girls dressed provocatively in belly shirts and booty shorts, guys in jeans, and the most ridiculous part of all was the smell of weed in the air. I don’t know how intelligent I sound by calling it “weed,” instead of “marijuana” but honestly the term, weed, is very appropriate for the way I felt in that environment. I was actually shocked that I could smell this about two miles into the course and realized that this was an entirely different race than the one I ran last year.
The Rave…Yes A Rave!
As we crossed the dark finish line without a clue that the race had been completed, we encountered a huge mob in front of a glowing stage blasting techno music. The hosts(?) wearing skinny jeans and way too much hair gel were yelling “put your hands up” and spraying color into the 16 year old and under crowd. As someone who thrives at crossing the finish line with the feeling of accomplishment, I instead felt confused and jaded by the whole experience. Why is a rave necessary? It seems as though this is becoming a bit of the norm with these “fun runs.” The Electric Run that was held at Gillette Stadium mirrored the same experience and had a giant party at the end for participants. Is this a way to target the youth to sign up and pay for these races? We all can be certain that those smoking on the course were not there to be competitive and most likely came for the after party. As my friends and I joked about how the young crowd looked like they could be engaging in the new club drug, Molly, it become apparent to me that this could be a true possibility.
My first Cosmic Run experience was enjoyable and informative at the same time. I have learned to investigate these “fun runs” a little further before I decide whether or not to commit myself to participate or give up a weekend night. I will say I was pleased with the amount of colored powdered I was covered in which definitely outdid what the Color Run dished out the year before. This was the only real highlight of running around the dog track for me. Speaking of dog track, we ran past the kennels that the dogs were kept in and they were barking because they were clearly disturbed by the event. This also bothered me on the course. All in all, I believe these type of races will continue because they are popular with everyone, especially with parties and vendors attached to them. I may still add a fun run to change up my race experience here and there but for now, I continue to prefer the experience of crossing the finish line covered in sweat rather than color!