I used to roll my eyes at color runs and bubble runs. They’re expensive, crowded, and for what? To have a perfectly good run complicated by getting stuff thrown on you? If I pay $30 to $50 for a 5k, it should be a timed event with a really, really cool shirt. And yet, here I am at a Bubble Run and apparently having fun. What?! Let’s talk about that….
Bubble Run Portland 2017
Turns out there are a few good reasons to Bubble Run (or probably color run or whatever). Here they are.
Our town had a kid’s fun run club all summer long and I helped out a few times. This was the event they were training for at the end of the summer. My friend and her son (featured in the video above) were going and I figured being there with the kids at the big finale event would be fun. And it WAS!
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If you see the event through kid’s eyes, it’s a blast. They don’t notice the otherwise ugly area you’re running in. All they notice are the 4 short-lived bubble bogs along the course that you walk through to maximize your time in the bubbles. They don’t care that there were no food vendors at the finish area as promised…because there is a BUBBLE CANNON!
So yes, go do a Bubble Run if you have kids to do it with. Swim and scream in the bubbles. Goof off. Be silly. Run when they want too. Walk the rest and just have a good time.
Because…ok, I’m out of ideas.
Honestly, I can’t think of another reason to do a Bubble Run. Unless you just really, really like bubbles. In which case I suggest you take a bath. Here are some of the realities of the Bubble Run in Portland that did not match up with the impression their website gave.
Impression vs Reality
- It’s for a good cause! When a charity is attached to a race we kind of assume the charity gets a percentage of our registration fees. Reality: They don’t disclose how much they give to charities because “the needs are different”. How much the Bubble Run donates depends on how many volunteers the charity provides to put on their event. In other words, instead of having event staff, they pay charity volunteers. Which isn’t a bad thing, but at the end of the day, there is no guarantee that the charity is getting even $1.50 out of your $50 registration fee.
- Free swag and a DJ and food vendors! Reality: No food vendors, but there was a DJ. He was cool. However, when the bubble cannons stopped, people looked bored. I guess if the airbrush artist writing people’s names on trucker hats was free…then there was free swag. Otherwise, there was nothing else going on at the finish.
- Bubbles everywhere! Reality: Bubbles were a 10 second break from long stretches of gravel back road behind the speedway. With views of algae covered stagnant water and the backside of empty bleachers. We were out there for maybe 60 minutes and my video has less than 5 minutes of footage of the parts with bubbles. It’s more like a 5k with four short bubble covered walk breaks.
- Colored bubbles! Supposedly the bubbles stain your white t-shirt and it’s fun. Reality: There were pink bubbles and then there were 3 bogs with white bubbles that had a faint hint of color. These other “colors” didn’t color your shirt at all. Maybe that was part of the technical difficulties that caused the race to start 15 minutes late? I don’t know.
- People running, laughing and having a blast. Reality: People DO have a blast. Some run, but most don’t. However, I saw a ton of crab apples. I overheard several groups (walking 4 abreast) and complaining about runners or strollers hogging the path. How can you tell someone at the Bubble RUN to run on the grass because you want to walk on the road? How can you complain about the 3 or 4 strollers you saw when your group of 10 is blocking the entire road while walking and looking at your phones? C’mon now.
Would I do it again?
No. Only maybe someday if my kid wants to do it or if another friend and their kid invite me along to take video. To me, the Bubble Run is like Disneyland. Fun with kids. Too expensive and crowded to bother otherwise.