Colour Run to go on without sponsor CIMB

Bank says promotions for run were on hold amid tests of coloured powder used for event

The main sponsor of the Colour Run has withdrawn at the last minute, but this weekend's "happiest 5k on the planet" will proceed, the organisers said.

CIMB Bank yesterday said it was pulling out because several of its planned marketing and promotional activities for the event could not be carried out. They were suspended amid tests to assess the safety of the coloured powder to be used in the run.

Despite being supportive of the Singapore authorities' efforts to test the safety of the powder, the bank has decided to "respectfully withdraw" as the presenting sponsor, it said in a statement.

Organiser IMG - a global sports, entertainment and media firm - said the bank's withdrawal does not affect the run. A spokesman said: "We acknowledge CIMB's decision to withdraw sponsorship of the Colour Run Singapore due to a lack of time to activate their sponsorship to its full potential. 

"Their withdrawal has no bearing on the event and we are delighted to be staging the Colour Run for 16,000 participants."

Last year, about 18,000 people took part in the run.


Due to the extended timing of the testing period, CIMB Bank Singapore was unable to meaningfully activate and exercise our commercial rights and entitlements as a sponsor and in good time.


The IMG spokesman declined to say how many people had pulled out of the run or asked for a refund.

The Colour Run will take place tomorrow and on Sunday on Sentosa. Participants will each still get a T-shirt, bandana, wristband and temporary tattoo - all bearing the CIMB Bank logo as these items could not be replaced in time, said the bank. The only difference is that the bank's booth will not be at the event.

The Colour Run is a non-competitive, untimed 5km event in which runners in white are drenched in coloured cornstarch at each kilometre mark. Participants usually finish the run in a riot of hues.

The fate of the run in Singapore was briefly in doubt due to concerns about the use of coloured powder at other mass events, after a dust explosion at a "colour party" in Taiwan on June 27 resulted in the deaths of at least 10 partygoers and injured more than 500.

The incident prompted the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force to issue a joint statement on June 30 saying that the safety of using coloured powder will be assessed before applications for the Colour Run are approved. The green light was given only on Monday, five days before the run.

CIMB Bank said: "Due to the extended timing of the testing period, CIMB Bank Singapore was unable to meaningfully activate and exercise our commercial rights and entitlements as a sponsor and in good time."

The bank, which has been sponsoring the Colour Run since it started two years ago, added: "CIMB Bank Singapore will certainly still consider sponsoring the Colour Run in the future."

Student Lea Ng, 19, who is taking part tomorrow, said the incident in Taiwan was worrying and she considered pulling out of the event with her friends. A regular slot in the run costs $65 per person.

"But we really wanted to experience it and we had already paid. I saw many of my friends' pictures from the previous years' runs, and it looked like a lot of fun," she said.

"I think it should be safe because it's approved, and I trust our authorities," she added.

But some others have withdrawn, citing safety concerns.

Ms Isabell Koh, 23, who recently graduated from university, said: "After the blast (in Taiwan), my friends and I decided not to take the risk...

"I will be starting work abroad next month and I don't want to take the chance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2015, with the headline 'Colour Run to go on without sponsor CIMB'. Print Edition | Subscribe