Runners are covered in dust at the Color Me Rad 5k run.

The Color Me Rad 5K adds some color to the San Jose running scene September 1. Participants in the fun run, inspired by the Hindu holiday Holi, wear white clothing while bombarding friends and other runners with colored dust.

The idea was founded by Scott Crandall of Salt Lake City who has held in several cities U.S. cities before debuting it at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on September 1.

Crandall previously worked for a private equity fund in Menlo Park before moving away from the Bay Area and starting Color Me Rad.

Crandall got his inspiration for Color Me Rad in Spanish Fork, Utah where a Hare Krishna temple hosts a large Holi celebration. Each year, Crandall watch as the celebration grew larger, starting from a few hundred participants to 50,000 just last year. 

“We were already in the race business with our other run, The Dirty Dash, and we said, ‘Hey, how bout a new way to ruin people’s running gear?,’” Crandall says.  “Or actually, we saw the good times the Festival of Colors provided and figured—why not make a run out of the Festival of Colors atmosphere and give people a little inspiration to get fit?”

Proceeds from each run are donated to local charities. For the San Jose race, the proceeds will be donated to Pacific Autism Center for Education.

“We had multiple people write in asking that we do something to benefit those dealing with autism,” Crandall syas. “PACE has been a great partner to work with. They’ll have some of the kids throwing color at the first color station and sending off each wave of runners.”

Crandall expects about 6,500 participants for San Jose’s race. It is intended to attract all sorts of runners, not necessarily those who are looking to race. He hopes to attract anyone who wants to have fun, including spectators who can throw the dust from the sidelines.

“The run isn’t even timed,” Crandall says. “This is way more about fun than times, calories or blue sweaty pits.”

All runners need for preparation is to find white clothing to wear comfortably while running. The dust is made from colored cornstarch so it washes off at the end of the race. The race will be about 3.1 miles but so much action has happened in past races that the distance may not be noticeable. 

“It’s surprising how many people finish the race and totally forget that they just ran 3.1 miles.” Crandall says.

After the race, a final color throw and dance will be held for all the participants and spectators at the finish line. This is to ensure that everyone who comes leaves completely coveredin color.

“We’re disappointed if people don’t have stained armpits and blue earwax when we’re all through with them,” Crandall says.

Color Me Rad in San Jose will take place at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on September 1 at 9am. More info.