Inspired by the life and work of a particular young man from Birmingham, Kalexiko’s own Chan Dhillon and family decided to do something to make a difference; to put a bit of colour into a tragic circumstance. What better way to do this than to grab their running shoes and taking part in Birmingham’s first ColorRun.
It was the 4th May 2014 when the tragic news of the death of Stephen Sutton MBE was reported all over the country. Stephen was a truly inspirational figure for all. Stephen was diagnosed with stage 3B colorectal cancer at the age of 15 and in December 2012, two years after the initial diagnosis, the cancer was deemed incurable after spreading to the lungs and liver.
Most of us after receiving this news would be knocked completely out of sorts, but not Stephen. Stephen never let his illness hold him back and through his blog Stephen’s Story and his charity activism his fundraising efforts for the Teenage Cancer Trust raised over £4.325 million, more than 4 times his target.
Here at Kalexiko, we wanted to do something to honor Stephen’s memory. Despite his life coming to a tragic end, there was so much of his life to celebrate; his unrelenting efforts to raise as much awareness and money as possible to help others; his courage throughout his battle; his taste for life; the reminder he left us all to make the most of the time we had.
When we caught wind that the first annual ColorRun was soon to happen in Birmingham we decided that this was a perfect way to honor Stephen’s memory; to inject some colour and happiness into life while still overcoming a physical feat. With that Kalexiko’s own Chan Dhillon grabbed his trainers, his running gear and his wife and kids along for the first Birmingham ColorRun.
Birmingham’s ColorRun is a 5km run and a one of a kind experience. Rather than your average grey and dull race, the ColorRun is much more about unity and enjoyment as opposed to winning, and more colours than a thousand rainbows.
The colours part should be taken quite literally. The event was sponsored by Dulux of course, and at every kilometer mark runners would be blasted with an array of harmless food grade corn starch paint; by the end of it athlete’s gear is covered in a dazzling array of pink, blue, yellow and orange.
The Race Day
At 11am on Saturday 16th August 2014, 9000 runners had gathered at the NEC in Birmingham, ready in their white t-shirts to become a human canvas for Dulux’s specially prepared paint. The only rules where;
- Rule #1 All participants are welcome… fast, slow, runner, walker, old, and young.
- Rule #2 White shirt dress code at the official start line and ready to roll!
- Rule #3 Completely colored Willy Wonka goodness at the finish.
Chan was there at the starting line along with his wife and children (in their pram of course) ready to tackle a physical feat to set him up for his next event, a 10k run this coming October.
After crossing the finishing line runners were treated with a post-race festival complete with DJs and big bursts of colourful clouds. To cap the day off Runners were blasted with industrial driers before heading home; complete with a poncho to protect car seats or their fellow passengers on public transport.
What separated this event from many others was the sheer fun of it, families and friends of all ages got together to take part. Many were there to just have fun and for some it was more than that, some runners were there to honour passed love ones or ones that were still fighting illnesses. All throughout the event there was a feeling of unity and joy that nothing could break, despite the odd choke on coloured paint.
We would like to think events like these really do justice for those like Stephen who show magnificent courage and strength, even through hard times. We also hope that the ColorRun and this humble blog post puts a smile on reader’s faces and inspires them to take part in something amazing in the name of someone amazing.
Finally, what did Chan have to say about the experience?
“The run was to celebrate life and to do it in Birmingham where people from all ages, ethnicity and backgrounds took part was an experience that will never be forgotten. I jogged the 5k with my wife and 3 young children and enjoyed every second of it.”
God Bless Life.
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