The Color Run expected to return next year

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Venue to be determined

By Marty Finley

Melanie Parker still is recovering her voice from Saturday’s The Color Run, but she is ready to start planning for next year.

The self-proclaimed “Happiest 5K on the Planet” left Freeman Lake Park in a color haze this past weekend, attracting around 3,300 people to the course, which featured strategic color zones where runners were doused with biodegradable powder that morphed their clothing and bodies into a walking art canvas.

“We’re hoping for bigger and better next year,” said Parker, who serves as vice chairwoman of SpringHaven Inc., which received proceeds from the run. “That’s hard to fathom right now — 3,300 people. That’s above and beyond any of our expectations.”

Parker’s employers, The Wright Legacy Group, sponsored The Color Run and are on board for next year, she said.

She thanked city employees and the Elizabethtown Police Department for helping manage a smooth day of fun for participants, some of whom traveled to Elizabethtown to take part in the extravaganza. She described the scene as tightly controlled chaos.

“That’s all you can ask for from The Color Run,” she said. “Controlled chaos.”

Parker did not have a breakdown on how many registered runners were from out-of-town. Likewise, the amount of money SpringHaven received from the run had not been finalized as of Monday, she said.

While Parker heard few complaints, she likely will hold meetings with volunteers earlier next year to clear any confusion and ensure they are comfortable in their roles. Meeting with volunteers the morning of the run, she said, made the day unnecessarily hectic.

Most volunteers, though, said they will be back next year. Some participants said they want to sign up because the volunteers appeared to be having so much fun.

There were long lines for parking early in the morning and some runners arrived late as organizers were trying to close the gates, but Parker said she heard no quibbles about the parking situation from those in attendance.

She does, however, believe a venue change is necessitated by the size of the run.

“I think we’re going to outgrow the lake,” she said.

Parker said she wants to reach out to the northern end of Hardin County to see if Radcliff or Fort Knox may want to host the event, which would give the area an opportunity to share the event with Elizabethtown and feel some of the economic benefit from the run. She hopes to set up a schedule where the run could be held at different venues around the county from year to year.

“I’m all pro-Hardin County,” she said.

Parker said The Color Run’s organizers labeled Kentucky as “Funtucky” and spoke highly of the venue and the people they met while in Elizabethtown. Race director Chad Evans could not be reached for comment.

Parker found her own moment of peace and tranquility on Saturday as she saw the reflection of shimmering color on the lake and witnessed eager runners jumping up and down with exuberance.

Parker said she is starting a Hardin County Color Run page on Facebook to keep residents abreast of updates on next year’s event.

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