I started thinking about running when I was pregnant with my first child – I was having these incredible dreams about bounding through grass fields with my hair flowing in the wind. I think it might have had something to do with the fact that I had gained an enormous amount of weight and was starting to be overtaken on the street by little old ladies with their walking frames. I was fat and slow and suddenly had this urge to run. So after my daughter was born, I bought my first pair of running shoes and off I went into the fields.

The reality of these first runs couldn’t have been further from my dreams. I huffed and puffed for a total of ten minutes before being reduced to a physical wreck not even a mile from home. But driven by a will to get fit, I continued onwards, gaining speed and fitness until I was running for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and then an hour and beyond. I never stopped. What I love about running – still – is the freedom, the liberty to go anywhere, in any direction, at any time of day, for any length of time, with the only expense being a pair of trainers.

A month ago, one of my running friends, Alexandra, asked me if I wanted to join her in a 5km Color Run, where we would be bombarded with coloured paint as we ran. Confused about how this was supposed to be fun, I looked the race up to discover an array of photos of happy splattered faces running through clouds of coloured powder. I was transported back in time to those grass fields of running freedom of my dreams and signed up in a heartbeat.

The Color Run is the brainchild of Travis Snyder, who started his career organising high endurance events such as triathlons and relay races. In March 2011, Snyder decided to create a non- threatening running environment where both professional and novice runners could come together and enjoy the fun of running without the pressure of racing. “The event is marketed as a ‘fun run’ and is untimed, so it lacks the intimidating factor that other organised fitness events can have,” explains Jamie Miller, The Color Run’s Public Relations Manager. “About 50 per cent of the participants are first-time 5km runners.”

Today, The Color Run is one of the world’s fastest-growing running race sensations with over four million runners taking part to date. In 2014, there were races in over 300 cities in 50 countries across the world. Nicknamed the “happiest 5K on the planet,” The Color Run has become the single largest event series in the United States and is growing internationally every year.

Switzerland joined the party this year with its very first Color Run in the city of Lausanne. Five thousand participants took part in the race on a flat and picturesque route that led runners through parks and along the shores of the Lake Léman. Every kilometre was marked by a paint station with volunteers armed with guns of coloured corn flour for maximum mess. Instead of ploughing through pit stops, like I usually do during races, I found myself slowing down and loitering for extra paint exposure.

As The Color Run is not officially timed, I knew I was going to have to take my own chronograph to record my performance and speed. But which watch to choose? The dress code for the race was white (for maximum colour absorption) with the addition of rainbow accessories, so my watch was going to have to follow suit. There are a number of colourful chronographs for women on the market but none that combine sportiness, elegance, colour and style quite like a Hublot. So I pitched my idea to the lovely Anaïs Tréand at Hublot headquarters in Nyon, half expecting her to decline politely (I sent pictures of previous Color Runs, too, so she knew what to expect), but not only did she agree, she offered me a stunning rose- gold, gem-set Tutti Frutti to test drive on my running adventure. On reception of the watch, I double-checked that she had fully understood what I was going to be doing with this SFr.40,000 timepiece, and she smiled, told me not to worry, and wished me luck.

It is funny how a watch can make you feel more beautiful, more elegant, more successful. Even in my rainbow socks and headband, the Tutti Frutti seemed to somehow turn my psychedelic style into a well-put-together look of 1980s proportions.

The Tutti Frutti comes in a choice of four colours: rose with matching pink baguette sapphires: orange with orange baguette sapphires: apple with green baguette tsavorites, and the one I wore – purple with amethyst baguettes. Housed in a sporty 41mm, red- gold case, with the brand’s signature screws set into the bezel, there is no missing the unmistakable Big Bang design, especially in these four fabulous colours. The matte white dial is satin-finished and features gold-plated appliques, hands and chronograph counters, which are further highlighted by a ring of baguette-cut gemstones on the bezel. The movement is the brand’s HUB4300 self-winding chronograph calibre, which also features a date at 4.30 and small seconds at 3 o’clock.

With its gold case and 48 precious gemstone baguettes, the Tutti Frutti is not the lightest watch on the market for running; however, it is extremely comfortable and I soon forgot that I was wearing it, to the extent that I even neglected to start the chronograph when the race began. I am embarrassed to admit it, as this is a serious

crime for a watch writer, but it just reinforced how much The Color Run is about enjoying the atmosphere of the race and not the time – much like most of us enjoy fine timekeeping for its mechanical and aesthetic beauty more than a real need to know the time.

Running the race was a unique experience without the pressure to “race”. There was no overtaking, pushing or shoving; everyone was there to have fun, from the elderly to the very young. There was even a bunch of dogs, who had come along for the sheer joy of it all. The only disadvantage was that I kept losing Alexandra, as she was constantly changing colour.

After the race there was the clean-up, which is an important part of the event. “We work very closely with the various municipal environmental agencies in each city to ensure that we have a satisfactory cleaning plan. Our cleaning process is extremely thorough. It’s one of the most expensive elements of our production, and the runners don’t get to see any of it, but we take our commitment to ‘leave no trace’ seriously,” explains Miller. As for my purple Tutti Frutti, it wiped clean perfectly, even the purple rubberised alligator strap – much to my relief and most probably to the relief of the PR team at Hublot, too.

For more details about The Color Run, check out their website at www.thecolorrun.com.

For those in the green city of Singapore, The Color Run will be held this weekend, Aug 20-21 at the Sentosa Palawan Green. Ready yourself for the smashingly colorful 5K run!