The Color Run and Running in Kazakhstan

By Kamilla Zakirova

Have I promised to dedicate a special blog to Kazakh cuisine and tell you more about it? I have, but the daily suggested posts on my Facebook account about the upcoming Color Run 5K in Washington, DC has prompted me to write about color marathons held in Kazakhstan and Kazakhs’ love for running.

This fall, Washington, DC will be hosting the Color Run 5K, a fun running event that has no winners or prizes, but turns into a celebration of colors. 

First held in Phoenix, Arizona in January 2012, the event has already won popularity in many countries, including Kazakhstan. Almaty hosted its first color marathon in early May this year. 


Hundreds of runners started in clean white shirts, but crossed the finish line to face the colorful surprises expecting ahead of them. Every runner was sprinkled with powder paint of different colors: yellow, pink, green, blue. Colorful clouds settled on their clothes and face that lifts the mood and making everything all around brighter and more cheerful. It turned into a colorful “holi” race. For those unfamiliar with holi, it’s a Hindu holiday celebrated with people throwing colored powder at each other for the celebration of spring and religious events.

Many participated for the love of running, but most for having a fun time with friends and family.

The paint was made of food starch which is clean, safe, and even edible.

In May, Almaty also hosted another important charity marathon titled Courage to Be First brought together more than 6,000 participants. The participants ran for 2, 9, 21, and 42 kilometer distances. The total amount of approximately 2,750,000 tenges was raised to support the athletically-gifted children from low income families and children with special needs. The beginning of the race began with a moment of silence for those who were hurt at the Boston Marathon a few week earlier.

Kazakh people’s love and participation in special sports events, such as marathons contribute tremendously to promoting sports culture and healthy life style in Kazakhstan. Plus, they know how to have fun doing it!