Color Bomb: Different kind of 5K comes to Knoxville
By Melanie Tucker | (email@example.com)
It might be the most fun you’ll ever have running a 5K.
That’s what organizers of the Color Me Rad 5Ks across the country are counting on. East Tennesseans get to decide for themselves as the event rolls into town on April 6 at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium-Coliseum. Registration had been closed when 7,000 runners and walkers had signed up in 14 days. Late last week, registration was back open to allow 2,000 more fun-loving athletes the chance to get a little exercise, get bombed with color and raise money for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Ready, get set ...
Runners start the race with a sparkling white T-shirt. Waves of 1,000 people will take off every five minutes, beginning at 9 a.m. About every kilometer they will run through a color station with volunteers, called the Color Bomb Squad, that toss or spray a vibrant color at them. By the time participants cross the finish line, they’ll be as colorful as confetti.
At the finish line, runners and walkers will throw their own color bomb into the air, creating a final explosion of color.
Color Me Rad 5Ks started up last year in Utah. More than 200,000 runners were turned rad in 36 cities across the U.S. and Canada. In 2013, Color Me Rad will hold races in more than 90 cities.
The Knoxville race this year is the 16th stop on the nationwide tour. Last year, 5,500 participants turned rad in Knoxville. Fitness was an added bonus.
Inspired by the Holi Festival of India, a group of three friends came together and decided to bring some excitement to the sport of running through music, color and a total disregard for who finishes first.
“We don’t even own a watch,” said race organizer Scott Crandall. “We don’t want you to worry about getting your best time. We just want you to have the best time.”
In each city along the way, Color Me Rad chooses a charity to partner with. Here, it’s Children’s Hospital in Knoxville.
SDLqWe are happy they picked us,” said Erica Estep, public relations manager at Children’s Hospital. “I think organizers were surprised so many people were interested last year here in Knoxville and it sold out so quickly. This year it sold out in 14 days so 2,000 more slots were opened up.”
Last year, the Color Me Rad 5K was held at Chilhowee Park, but it has been moved to the Civic Auditorium this year to allow for more participants.
“They underestimated what a running town Knoxville is,” Estep said.
But these Color Me Rad 5Ks aren’t solely for the serious runners, Estep pointed out.
She said it is called a run, but people of all fitness levels can also walk. It’s a social event that raises money for good causes, she said.
Estep is encouraging East Tennesseans to sign up for the race at http://www.colormerad.com .
If you use the code CHILDREN5K you will receive a 5 percent discount and Children’s Hospital will be 15 percent of the proceeds from the race.
Last year, that was $17,000 that the hospital was able to use for its various services and programs. Estep said this year’s money will be used for educational outreach. That might be the Coalition on Childhood Obesity that partners with others in the community to slow down and one day prevent childhood obesity or another program that helps families maintain healthy lifestyles and weight.
Focus on fun
In case anyone has concerns, Estep said the color bombs are nothing more than colored cornstarch. It has the consistency of baby powder, she said. Almost 5,000 pounds is used at each race.
“I think people are exited about this event here because it is such a different kind of event,” Estep said.
“But also because there is so much support in this community for Children’s Hospital. People really want to support it. It’s a cause they can get behind.”
Many would argue that running can be a mundane activity. This run, organizers said, is more like a party. A lot of people do the Color Me Rad as their first 5K.
“Like your fifth birthday party, we want this event to be memorable, fun and messy,” Crandall said. “This is the most fun you can have while running and unlike your birthday party, there are no scary clowns here, just lots of color.”