Color Run to coat Freeman Lake Park

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Saturday event capped at around 3,000 participants

By Marty Finley

“The Happiest 5K on the Planet” was designed to remove pressure from running, and this message has been reciprocated in Elizabethtown.

Freeman Lake Park hosts The Color Run starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. It’s an un-timed 5K with color zones strategically placed every kilometer. The event has attracted around 2,700 registered runners as of Tuesday evening with the event capped at about 3,000, said race director Chad Evans.

Participants are encouraged to wear white because they will be immersed in different colors on the 3.1-mile journey. Evans said the hues range from blue and pink to yellow and orange. The powder used essentially is corn starch, so it is not hazardous to participants and is biodegradable, said Melanie Parker, vice chairwoman of SpringHaven Inc. Organizers stage cleaning stations for runners at the event’s conclusion, she said.

“It helps push them to that next level because they want to get to that next fun zone,” Evans said.

The Color Run was started in 2012 by Travis Snyder as an alternative to hyper-competitive races such as the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder. Other stops this month include Miami, San Diego, Nashville and Pittsburgh, according to the run’s website.

Evans said Snyder believed this type of competitive culture was dissuading would-be runners from joining the fray.

“Most people start out with a 5K, but some people are shying away from a 5K because the running world is really competitive,” he said.

Runners can strive for their own personal best times or ditch the stopwatch entirely and just have a good time, Evans said.

At the close of the race, participants gather for a “Finish Festival” that incorporates more color as runners toss color packets into the air at the same time to create a massive color cloud.

“It’s quite a spectacle to see,” Evans said.

The festival continues until the crowds thin, he said, and most of the festivities originate around the bandstand.

Runners are encouraged to be at Freeman Lake Park by 7 a.m. Saturday morning to retrieve their packets and should enter through the entrance on Blue Heron Way, Evans said.

Proceeds from the race benefit SpringHaven Domestic Violence Program. Parker said the shelter receives money by assembling volunteers to assist with the event. About 150 volunteers were mobilized as of Tuesday, Evans said.

The run actually kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday with a registration drive at Evolution Fitness, a local gym at 909 N. Mulberry St., Suite 100 in Elizabethtown. Evans said participants can pick up their run packets or register for the event there. Runners also can register online at www.thecolorrun.com/elizabethtown with costs between $40 and $45.

While organizers would prefer runners register online or at the Friday kickoff event, they also can register on race day, Evans said.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.