Color Me Run – Ho Chi Minh City, 2014.

(All images © 2014 Adam Robert Young, all rights reserved)

Thousands of people, even more bags of brightly coloured powder and a 5 kilometer run. This could only end in really pretty disaster! And then there’s the concert at the end with Vietnamese and international artists including Australia’s own Timomatic and multi-Grammy award winning Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child fame.

This was the inaugural Ho Chi Minh City “Color Me Run” event, held last Saturday in District 7.

Day event 65

Some 5000 people registered and rocked up for the event in the balmy mid-afternoon heat. After getting together near the starting line, runners jumped into a massive warm up session. I could already see there were some interesting characters joining in, and it wasn’t long before the coloured powder started flying…

Day event 10

Day event 13

Day event 9

Day event 4

Just before 3:30 people started to congregate at the starting line. The photographers were out en masse, including more drones than you could imagine filming the crowds from above (that’s why so many people are looking up in the next shot).

Day event 17

Day event 18

Day event 30

Day event 23

At 3:30 the runners set off on the 5km run.

Day event 24

Day event 27

There were 5 checkpoints, each assigned a colour, and it was clear from quite a distance which colour each one was. First was pink…

Day event 31

Day event 41

Day event 33

Day event 46

…then blue…

Day event 49

Day event 51


Day event 52

Day event 54

Day event 58


Day event 60

…and finally purple.

Day event 69

Day event 67

Day event 63

By the time people arrived at the finish line, there was no denying they’d been a part of the event.

Day event 62

Day event 59

Including the photographers (you should have seen my backpack)!

Day event 70

And even non-human participants!

Day event 44

Day event 61

Now you’d think that after a 5km run in Saigon’s crazy humidity people would be done by the end of the run. But we’re a special breed here in Ho Chi Minh City! Everyone filled the area in front of the stage and with every moment before the performers took to the stage the energy built.

Day event 87

Day event 97

Day event 101

Day event 72

Day event 73

Day event 76

Day event 81

First up was Vietnamese rapper Suboi.

Suboi 89

Suboi 93

Suboi 92

And as the sun disappeared from view the time drew near for the first international artist to take the stage. It was Timomatic and his crew of Aussie dancers. The atmosphere was electric and the roar from the crowd told me that my fellow Australian has his share of fans here in Vietnam.

Timomatic 103

Timomatic 111

At this time, I was cursing my low income and consequent inability to afford a decent zoom lens (that 28-300 L-series one that Canon makes would be perfect for an event like this one). But thankfully as I had to get some shots of the event for Oi Vietnam magazine, I had a media pass which allowed me to stand literally right against the stage to shoot. It made for more of an intimate concert experience for me…

Timomatic 118

Timomatic 109

Timomatic 117

Timomatic 121

And while shooting upward at Timomatic wasn’t always ideal, it did lead to me creating a photo which is probably my favourite of the year so far…

Timomatic 108

Anyway, after a great show, Timomatic and his crew cleared the stage and the crowd waited in anticipation the time for Kelly Rowland’s performance drew near.

She took to the stage and delivered.

Kelly Rowlands 129

While I’m not familiar with her solo stuff, it was pretty cool when she did some Destiny’s Child songs. The crowd went wild as she sang Survivor.

Kelly Rowlands 130

Kelly Rowlands 133

All in all, it was a really great event, and hopefully it’s the first of many more to come!

Some of these shots – along with many others of mine from the past month – can be seen in the May issue of Oi Vietnam, downloadable or viewable online here