Run Or Dye is not coming to Prince George this year.
The popular social event is a new phenomenon across North America, and had Prince George tentatively scheduled on their Canadian tour in their advertising, but planning had some difficulties and organizers said Thursday that they could not arrange a 2013 date.
The good news, however, is they have 2014 firmly coloured into their plans.
"We came close but we just couldn't get the street closure permits together for this year, so rather than go with a route we weren't thrilled about, we decided 2014 was when we would go for it, and do it right," said Run Or Dye spokeswoman Kathryn Handford.
Run Or Dye is a daytime event "all about friendship, fitness and fun," Handford said. Participants run, walk or wheel a 5 km route, usually in groups or teams. Often people dress up in costumes or goofy outfits. Some opt for scantily bathing suits, but for practical reasons not titillation. At several points along the route, off-course volunteers launch colour assaults on the passersby. No one can escape being pelted, head to toe.
The weapons are all cornstarch powder bombs, so they are safe for the environment, clothing and anyone who gets caught in the life-sized kaleidoscope attack, but there is no way to finish the event unchanged. If you are yellow with fear, green with envy or got a case of the blues, you will certainly be sporting many brighter hues when you cross the finish line.
Also along the way are stationed musicians, jugglers, dancers, entertainers of all kinds, to make the trip just as colourful for the mind as it is for your body.
Then, once you finish, you get colour bombs of your own and everyone gets to have a free-for-all at a massive paint party.
"We like to see at least 5,000 people at each of our events in communities the size of Prince George. In the States they consistently get 8,000 people," Handford said. "We did get a good pre-response rate from P.G. Regina is another town for that, in fact the highest pre-response in North America. So we are seeing smaller cities really make themselves known to us, and that's is important for our decision-making. We are trying to get to cities that make sense, where the population wants to come out and enjoy it. We see that spirit in Prince George."
After long discussions about different options in Prince George, Run Or Dye organizers think they have a winner of a location: the Greenway Trail starting at UNBC. It would, said Handford, be a great chance for them to hold an event in the great outdoors, showcase a wilderness setting, but at the same time draw attention to the university and the close relationship Prince George has between urbanity and forest.
Plans are not final, however, and Handford is aware of facilities like Otway Ski Centre and Fort George Park as well as the streets of the city. One of the challenges their event faces, unlike a bicycle road race or running events, is their need to fully close the streets not simply cordon off a lane.
"We actually cancelled our Montreal plans this year because we couldn't work out the road closures there either," she said. "We want to do it right, and we want a long-term relationship with a city. We are looking for a three-year deal, typically."
Handford said she is particularly excited about plans for our city due to a couple of unrelated reasons. One, she is a royal watcher and history fan who applauded when the royal baby was born.
"I knew as soon as they announced the baby was a boy that they would call him George. So how does it feel to live in a city named for the future king?," she said.
Also, Handford was once a trampoline athlete who competed in the Canada Winter Games. If Prince George's summertime Run Or Dye event can show the city's true colours, she said, the 2015 Games might be a mutually beneficial opportunity to branch out into wintertime Run Or Dye events.
At the very least, she said, these events promote good health and closer community bonds, it isn't competitive but has a sporting feel to it, and it injects activity in each city's local economy.