ILWACO — The white T-shirts the participants of Saturday’s Ilwaco Color Run were given prior to the race, didn’t stay white for long. With the group assembled at the starting line for the 5K run, each runner tossed a bag of color powder into the air, showering the runners in a rainbow cloud.
“It was difficult. The flats were okay, but climbing the hills…” said Brad Bell after finishing the race, dyed sweat running down the side of his face. There were five more color stations along the course that doused the runners in more color powder as they ran through.
“That’s actually kind of a little break from the race. It was kinda fun, yeah,” said Bell, who had two children manning two of the stations. Pounds of the color powder — made of corn starch and food dye — were used in the event.
“We got sprayed by our kids!” added Bell’s wife Helen.
The second annual event, dubbed, “Color the Lake,” was a collaboration between YAK (the Ilwaco High School Youth Action Klub) and Sources of Strength, a Wellspring evidence-based suicide prevention program. The goal of the race was to promote mental health, connections and healthy activities for local youth.
“We all go through difficult times, but when we have supportive family members, friends, mentors, healthy activities, it helps us to overcome those difficulties. So it’s a really positive event,” said Wellspring representative Carly Casteneda Saturday. “We love this event and love being able to support our youth doing this leadership activity. It’s a great opportunity for them to implement their own event and campaign. It really is youth-led and youth-driven. We love to provide support, but it’s really their initiative.”
According to YAK president Eddie Hillard, the idea for the event came from a student.
“The idea came up three years ago, and it took a whole year to get it started,” he explained.
Hillard said students had seen color runs in Seattle and Portland previously.
“But we’re a small town, we don’t get that cool stuff,” he said, but noted, “It’s just a matter of putting it together.”
The event saw a similar turnout to last year’s inaugural run.
“We’re happy that it stayed steady, it’s a great turnout,” said Casteneda. “And it looks like people are having a lot of fun.”
And even the weather was perfect for the event.
“It couldn’t be any better,” said Hillard. “I was really worried about the rain, but no rain, so I’m good with that.”
He noted that had it been wet, the color part of the run would have been a little different.
“It would definitely have put a ‘damper’ on the color powder,” he said. “So it’s a bit of a gamble planning it months in advance.”