If you were anywhere near Downtown Saturday morning, you might have seen the crowds. Dressed in white T-shirts, sunglasses and sneakers, they filtered past Fremont and up Las Vegas Boulevard, coming to a halt in front of the Foley Federal Building. They looked cult-like, all those people dressed in white, standing calmly under the morning sun. Then, with a cheer, they took off, running up the street toward a cloud of yellow rising into the air.
I was in Wave 2 of the Las Vegas Color Run, a paint fight disguised as a 5k race that leaves runners a smiling, tie-dyed mess like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. At the corner of Hoover and the Boulevard, volunteers armed with squeeze bottles and buckets doused us in bright yellow powder that stuck to our skin and drifted around us as we ran on. At the start line, they'd told us to keep our mouths closed, but running through a color tunnel creates the insatiable urge to scream. The color might look like powdered sugar, but it doesn't taste like it.
We ran on. Farther along, there were gauntlets of green, purple and pink, two rows of volunteers creating a cloudy corridor at each stop, welcoming us with handfuls of violet and magenta that speckled our faces and splattered across our backs. Soon, we were sprinting under the balloon arch, grabbing a bottle of water and catching our breath. That's when we saw it. If the race has been an on-and-off shower of color, ahead of us was a rainbow hurricane. We made our way to the middle of the crowd, clutching the bags of powder that had come with our runners' packets and waiting for the MC's countdown.
"5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ..."
All at once, the beat picked up and yellow, green, teal and pink burst into the air. For a moment, we were dancing in a rainbow.
A few minutes later, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirrored window of the Golden Nugget. The face smiling back was an unrecognizable mess of polka-dots in purple glasses and a tie-dye shirt. And it was beautiful.