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Run of Many Colors

Natalie St. John

Published on June 13, 2017 4:55PM

Participants in the untimed five-kilometer (3.1 miles) race walked or ran around Black Lake twice, passing through stations where volunteers doused them in colored cornstarch.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/nstjohn@chinookobserver.com

Participants in the untimed five-kilometer (3.1 miles) race walked or ran around Black Lake twice, passing through stations where volunteers doused them in colored cornstarch.

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A young racer was engulfed in a cloud of brightly colored dust, as she passed neared the finish line on Saturday morning.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/nstjohn@chinookobserver.com

A young racer was engulfed in a cloud of brightly colored dust, as she passed neared the finish line on Saturday morning.

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Racers headed toward the finish line at Black Lake Park, during the “color run” on June 10.

nATALIE ST. JOHN/nstjohn@chinookobserver.com

Racers headed toward the finish line at Black Lake Park, during the “color run” on June 10.

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People of all ages participated in the Wellspring Community Network-sponsored event, which emphasized fun, rather than competition.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/nstjohn@chinookobserver.com

People of all ages participated in the Wellspring Community Network-sponsored event, which emphasized fun, rather than competition.

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Racers looked on as a couple of young participants jumped into Black Lake to rinse off after completing the 5K run.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/nstjohn@chinookobserver.com

Racers looked on as a couple of young participants jumped into Black Lake to rinse off after completing the 5K run.

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Many participants wore sunglasses to keep the ‘paint’ — actually colored cornstarch — from getting in their eyes.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/nstjohn@chinookobserver.com

Many participants wore sunglasses to keep the ‘paint’ — actually colored cornstarch — from getting in their eyes.

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ILWACO — On Saturday, June 10, people of all ages came out to paint the town red — and yellow and orange and blue — during the “color run” at Black Lake.

The event, which was sponsored by the nonprofit Wellspring Community Network, drew more than 130 racers, Wellspring Coalition Coordinator Vinessa Karnofski said.

Because Wellspring focuses on programs and issues affecting youth, organizers wanted to make the event accessible to kids and teens, Karnofski said. Local youth participated for free. Proceeds from adult entry fees and donations will benefit “YAK” program, which provides free activities nights for local teens.

The five-kilometer race emphasized fun rather than competition. As runners left the starting line in Black Lake Park, volunteers showered them in clouds of brilliantly dyed cornstarch. Volunteers at “color stations” blasted them with still more of the neon “paint.” Color Run promoters say the color powder is harmless, but many racers still wore sunglasses to protect their eyes and held their breath as they ran through the stations. By the time they reached the finish line, participants were covered from head to toe in color.

“Fun runs” of all kinds are becoming an increasingly popular pastime. Color runs — sometimes called “paint races” — caught on in the U.S. several years ago, as Utah-based Color-Run, LLC and other event producers began promoting the races as positive, family-friendly events. Thousands of paint races now take place around the world each year. Some include special themes, or glow-in-the-dark paint.

Paint races were inspired by Holi, a springtime Hindu festival that originated in India and Nepal. For observant Hindus, Holi starts as a meaningful religious occasion that emphasizes themes of renewal, forgiveness and thankfulness. After more formal ceremonies have taken place, participants take to the streets for a free-for-all color festival, in which no one is safe from being drenched with water guns or water balloons, and showered in a rainbow of colored powders.











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