Superior race draws a decidedly colorful crowd (with video)A colorful 5-kilometer run/walk in Superior on Sunday morning focused more on fun than competition. It was a race without prizes, official times or any other recognized measures of personal performance.
By: Peter Passi, Associated Press
A colorful 5-kilometer run/walk in Superior on Sunday morning focused more on fun than competition. It was a race without prizes, official times or any other recognized measures of personal performance.
And the Color Dash attracted a wide range of often-unconventional participants drawn by the opportunity to take part in a popular new form of fundraising.
“My husband and I recently decided to lead more active lifestyles, and this will be our first 5K,” said Sarah Goodwin of Superior.
“We want to get our son more active, too, and what better way than to try something new?” she asked.
“This seemed like a fun family thing to do,” Dan Goodwin said as he and his clan joined a crowd of more than 2,000 runners and walkers massed at Barker’s Island on Sunday morning.
Carson, the Goodwins’ enthusiastic 9-year-old son, needed no convincing.
“I can’t wait to go home with colors all over me,” he said in eager anticipation of seeing his crisp white T-shirt splashed in vibrant primary shades of yellow, green, pink and blue.
With each kilometer of ground they covered, walkers and runners passed through a different station where they were bombarded with powdered food-grade pigments mixed with corn starch and poured into plastic squeeze bottles.
There was no need to worry about stains: Organizers promised the colors could be washed out of clothing. But for those who wanted a longer-lasting memento, the dyes could be made to leave their permanent mark with a healthy dose of vinegar.
Joyce Vacura of International Falls said she has participated in several 5K runs in recent years but said this would be the first with her 13-year-old daughter, Ariana, at her side. In addition to the benefits of exercise and some quality time together, the mother-and-daughter pair liked the idea of becoming human canvasses in a work of public art such as might be inspired by the likes of Jackson Pollock, the famous abstract impressionist.
“We thought this would be pretty cool and exciting,” Vacura said. “And it’s certainly for a very good cause.”
A large portion of the event’s proceeds went to support Amberwing, a new outpatient facility in Duluth tending to young people who struggle with mental health issues or substance abuse.
Although final numbers had not yet been tallied Sunday, the run/walk netted Amberwing about $40,000, according the preliminary estimates of Joanna Carlson, a special events and marketing specialist for the Miller-Dwan Foundation.
Sunday’s event was produced with help from Color Chase, an Owatonna, Minn.-based for-profit company that works with different charities around the nation to organize the novel run/walks and to raise money for community causes.
Carlson said the Superior event filled up quickly, and organizers had to turn many would-be runners and walkers away. She explained the desire to keep the event a manageable size during its launch.
“We were overwhelmed by the response and the number of people who were begging to get in,” Carlson said.
She’s already laying plans for next year’s event, which Carlson said should be able to accommodate a larger field of runners and walkers.
“Something like this draws lots of people who might be turned off by a conventional race,” said Clint Agar, co-owner of Duluth Running Co., a sponsor of Sunday’s event.
“It’s fun to see a crowd that is this different, with all the families and groups of teenagers you might not see at a regular race,” he said. “It’s really more like a festival than a race.”
Such colorful walk/run events have become quite popular in recent years.
A triathlete, Travis Snyder, organized what was called the first “Color Run” in Phoenix in January 2012; the event attracted a field of about 6,000 participants.
The idea quickly caught on and 50 such Color Run events that same year drew a total of about 600,000 participants, according to a report that ran in Runners World. The magazine declared the Color Runs the largest 5-kilometer event series in the nation during 2012, and the concept continues to grow ever more popular.
This year, about 130 such Color Run events are scheduled around the globe, and they’re expected to draw about 1 million people in all — and that doesn’t include similar events outside the Color Run series, such as Sunday’s Color Dash in Superior.