Frank and the Color Purple

When CoolRunners first came up with the idea of an all women’s race, I was curious: how could we be more inclusive while still supporting women’s causes? I knew I wanted to run and I was sure other men would also. So, why the color purple….

First of all I love all colors, and all their shades and combinations, obvious and even shocking. I’m constantly amazed at how strongly people react to color in their environment, wall color, carpet color, furniture color, building color, especially car color, and of course hair color. How often people respond to strong color statements, somehow fearing that primal emotions so carefully channeled might somehow be given license to burst the levees with unimaginable consequences….

Thus the context for my love of the color Purple. Purple is the noblest of colors, the dyes extracted at great cost from Mediterranean shellfish to color the robes of royalty. Its effects are calming, evocative, contemplative, with deep connotations of lush rich fruity fermentation.

Purple is often confused with Violet, the extreme end of the Blue spectrum, and its passionless antonym. Purple is Cabernet to Violet’s lavender, ripeness to dried floral arrangements. In spite of all this, I wear little purple. Maybe a necktie, a striped shirt, a concealed brief. Perhaps I too struggle with the consequences of display of primal imperatives unready for the light of day. Maybe its just too complicated to figure what it matches besides orange and green (really?!)

Both of my daughters’ high schools and now college have purple as their school color, and if my younger gets her way with the NYU admissions office, we will have a clean sweep of all four. What is this attraction? What does it say about the school, the team, the place? That we are not the obvious Red, or the lame Blue, or the lazy Green, etc, but somehow elevated, informed, aspirational? It’s not the color of a tiger, or a lion, or a bear, but somehow an Indian, a Lord (or Lady) or a Panther?

What Purple best symbolizes is the courage to be different, like the women that The Running Goddess honors and supports: like Mehbooba, an Afghan runner whose determination to compete has so far kept the Taliban at bay, and like Ruchira, helping at-risk girls in India. That’s why I’’ll be wearing a purple shirt on race day, to lend a small note of color to the mosaic. I’ll have to check to see if Cross Sport Woman has my size!

~ Frank Greene, Chief Routing Officer

Posted in Our Stories