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The colour of running

Unique race makes its Winnipeg debut

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Participants take in the community color bombing after the finish line during the Color Me Rad 5K event held at Fresno, Calif., last year.

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Participants take in the community color bombing after the finish line during the Color Me Rad 5K event held at Fresno, Calif., last year.

Most people who run a race finish with flushed faces. But the participants of the Color Me Rad race in Winnipeg will finish looking black and blue, but also red, green, yellow or any other colour.

Color Me Rad is a five-kilometre fun run that was launched in 2012 in several Canadian and U.S cities. It will be making its debut in Winnipeg next weekend.

The difference between it and most other races is that at every kilometre, participants get bombarded with either powdered or liquid colours, turning their clothes -- and themselves -- into running rainbows. Each race also donates some of the proceeds to a local charity. Camp Manitou is the recipient for the Winnipeg event.

The idea for Color Me Rad came from a traditional Hindu festival called Holi, said Shane Crandall, one of the Winnipeg event organizers.

Crandall and his brother Scott, one of the founders of the Color Me Rad movement, grew up in Spanish Forks, Utah, which has a notable Hare Krishna temple. Every year for Holi, participants would toss dyes at each other to mark the beginning of spring, and Crandall said Color Me Rad was built from that tradition, but also to make a unique run.

"All you usually get is just a change of scenery, and that's the only unique twist to a 5K. You can go into any town and there will be a 5K anyone can run. This just adds an element of excitement," Crandall said.

The colours thrown at the participants are dyed corn starch, which Crandall said washes out of clothes, mostly.

"We always tell people to wear older shoes just in case. And the white shirt will never be completely white again, but most people want it that way," he said.

Many of the participants are first-time runners, like Emileigh van der Maare, who ran in the Toronto race in June and said she's planning to participate in another one later this summer. This was the first time she ran in an organized race, and she said the atmosphere and the energy of the participants were high, despite inclement weather.

"It rained the day that I did it, but the rain didn't affect everyone's mood. Everyone was still very excited, really pumped to go through it," van der Maare said.

The race isn't timed, so it appeals to people who haven't participated in running events before, Crandall said. Van der Maare said this also allowed her to have more fun.

"Nobody (was) excluded into the really athletic people and the not-so athletic people," she said.

But for most people, the colour is the main attraction, Crandall said.

"Truthfully, most people want to get a really cool picture for their Facebook profile, and that's how they get it."

oliver.sachgau@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2013 D16

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