North-eastern China's Shenyang city has called off a Colour Run event planned for this Saturday over concerns on the safety of the coloured powder used, but the organiser of next month's Colour Run in Singapore is pressing ahead in spite of this.
This comes in the light of the water-park fire in Taiwan last Saturday which left one dead and hundreds injured.
Organiser IMG told My Paper it will go ahead with the runs to be held in Sentosa on Aug 22 and 23, saying that it will work with the authorities and is "confident" that it can "stage a safe and professionally run event". However, the organiser of the Shenyang Colour Run is playing it safe and cancelled the event on Tuesday after receiving an order from "higher management", reported the official news website of China's Liaoning province.
It is understood that the organiser is The Colour Run China, an IMG joint venture in China which manages all colour runs in the country.
Earlier on Monday, Shanghai, which held its first Colour Run last September, also decided not to re-stage the event this year out of safety concerns.
The run, which began in the United States, is a non-competitive 5km event in which runners in white are showered in coloured cornstarch at each kilometre, so that they are in a riot of hues at the finishing line.
The Liaoning official news site quoted a resident of Shenyang - the capital of Liaoning - as saying that she had not known that the powder used in such runs was flammable until the Taiwan incident.
Now, she is seeking a refund from the organiser for her family, which has paid for Saturday's run.
According to Dr Qiao Jianjiang, a safety engineering expert from East China University of Science and Technology, the cornstarch used in these runs is a type of "explosive mixture" which could trigger a powerful explosion when ignited.
However, if it is treated to eliminate its volatility, the powder should be safe for use in runs, said Dr Qiao. According to the Shanghai-based Oriental Daily, although such runs have been staged in about 20 Chinese cities since 2013, there are still no specific safety guidelines to govern the event, and the people running the shows vary from place to place and might not be professionals.
Responding to a query by a netizen on its Facebook page, a spokesman for Colour Run Singapore reiterated that the powder it uses is a safe product, different from that used in the Taiwan incident. It also stressed that it had "never used nor would it ever use" in Singapore a "blasting machine" or any electrical device to "distribute the powder", as had been the case in Taiwan.
IMG told My Paper that the powder would be distributed "by hand".
Also, there would be a prescribed gap between the stage and the public, and smoking would be prohibited in the festival area, said the US-based global sports, entertainment and media firm.
On Tuesday, the police and Singapore Civil Defence Force said they will assess the safety of using coloured powder before approving applications for the Colour Run and similar events.
• Additional reporting by Lydia Lam