By Marissa Horn
Running shoes, a white T-shirt and a positive attitude adorn each contestant at the starting line; and at the finish, the runners are splattered with paint as they head to a dance party to celebrate their victorious race – for every participant is a winner in The Color Run.
Promoting a healthy and happy lifestyle is the goal of the internationally known 5K marathon. More than 60 percent of the runners who participate are “first-time 5k runners and participate as a celebration and capstone of their healthy living accomplishments,” according to the event’s website. Since The Color Run’s debut in January of last year, the run has grown to include more than 100 events in over 130 cities in the United States, South America, Europe and Australia; and there are expected to be more than one million entrants this year.
Although running is already the workout of choice for sophomore biology major Amanda Lyons, she decided to change up her routine of running in competitive races in May when she participated in a Washington, D.C. Color Run.
“I was motivated to run The Color Run because it sounded fun and there was absolutely no pressure to do well,” Lyons said. “Even if you didn’t train, it was OK.”
The positive theme of the event has inspired the creation of other local fun runs including the Electric Run, which was held Sept. 6 and 7 at the National Harbor; the Jingle Bell Run, which is set for Dec. 7 in Arlington, Va.; the Dirty Girl Mud Run, which will be held next August in Baltimore; and University of Maryland’s very own Color For The Kids Run, which was just hosted by Terp Thon on Sept. 28 in College Park.
The Color For the Kids Run is one of Terp Thon’s several fundraising events that support the “miracle children” from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Sarah Pontius, who is Terp Thon’s community relations chair, said the event’s registered participants included a mix of both new and experienced runners, which she attributes to the fun atmosphere of the run along with the good cause.
“Based on the amazing turn out, I would say that runs like this do motivate people to exercise while having fun,” the junior psychology major added.
Why are these runs rising in popularity?
“The personalization to different interests adds to the appeal of the run,” sophomore business major Nicole Centi said. “If you like zombies, there’s a run for that. If you like mud, there’s a run for that.”
In addition, these non-competitive “fun runs” usually donate the proceeds raised to a good cause.
If you are interested in participating in a fun run, some upcoming local options include Run or Dye on Nov. 2 and the Karaoke 5K Run or Roll Then Rockout on Nov. 22 – both at RFK Stadium – and the Turkey Trot 5K in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 28.