Thousands turn out Saturday for The Color Run
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Saturday, June 23, 2012
6/23/12 at 5:24 PM
There are a lot of running events held in Tulsa each year, but the one that took place on Saturday was certainly the most colorful.
The Color Run brought thousands of people to run — or in some cases walk — a 5K and get blasted with what organizers call “magical color dust” in the process.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Michelle Sorensen of what it felt like to get repeatedly splashed by color.
Sorensen is an experienced runner, but the event’s “Festival Captain” Johnny Patterson said the Color Run is also meant to appeal to those who aren’t.
Brent Jackson, 25, of Claremore said this was his second 5K run. He said he found it “incredible” how many people showed up at Veterans Park to be a part of what he called “one big party.”
The event was billed as a sellout as organizers said beforehand they expected 10,000 participants. It was a claim that was hard to dispute as the start time neared and throngs of people crammed into the park wearing white T-shirts that would not be white for long.
Amanda Nicklas, 25, and Jacqueline Gabbert, 24, drove from Missouri to take part in the Color Run. Nicklas said they were “super-pumped up” about the event, and they spent about four hours making white tutus to wear during the run.
Nicklas said when they got to the park on Saturday they were “a little disappointed” to discover they weren’t the only ones in tutus.
Tutus weren’t the only unusual garb sported by participants. Justin Worley, 25, was wearing a Mexican-style sombrero he found in the aftermath of a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Jorge Henao, 44, was part of a group of people wearing bandanas that featured the Venezuelan flag.
Henao said he was drawn to the event because it sounded like “fun for the entire family.”
Kirk and Alicia Short drove in from Wichita to be part of the Color Run.
“It’s cool,” Kirk Short said. “It’s not the norm.”
The appeal of the Color Run is a national phenomenon, with stops scheduled in more than 30 cities this year. Future dates in New York City, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia and several of the other cities on the tour are already listed as sellouts.
Patterson said the popularity of the event can be attributed to social media, particularly Facebook. He said organizers typically choose a worthy local organization to partner with in each Color Run city. In Tulsa’s case, the River Parks Authority is expected to receive close to $20,000 as a result of the event, according to the authority’s creative director Matt Carver.
River Parks Authority community relations director Tonja Pitzer said the Tulsa running community was integral in getting the city included as a Color Run stop. She said she was impressed with how professionally run the event was and with the size of the turnout.
“Who doesn’t want to get all colored up?” Jessica Jenkins said before meeting her colorful fate out on the course.
That sort of enthusiasm was not dulled when the participants crossed the finish line, even if their appearances were temporarily frightening. One man was told in the aftermath that it appeared as if he had his rear-end kicked by a Care Bear.
Faith Taylor, 38, and Kristin Record, 31, were only slightly less purple than Barney the dinosaur when they crossed the finish line.
Taylor described the sensation as being enveloped in a “big fog of color.” Patterson said the coloring agent, described on the event’s website as “basically food grade corn starch”, would eventually wash off.
The colors will eventually fade, but the memories won’t for those who took part in Saturday’s event.
“It was fun,” said 28-year-old Wes Hudkins of McAlester after finishing the run. “It was kind of exhilarating. It was a different experience.”
After The Color Run ended, participants were given bags of powdered paint to throw into the air in celebration of finishing the race. The chalky paint stuck to the runners' white clothing and created a vividly colorful environment at Veterans Park on Boulder Avenue. KT KING/Tulsa World
Dalton Person, 8, covers a participant in dressed in a morph suit during The Color Run on Saturday. KT King/Tulsa World
A participant in The Color Run on Saturday shows his tag covered in chalky paint after the conclusion of the race. KT KING/Tulsa World
Dalton Person, 8, covers sprays participants with color at a point on the course on Riverside Drive. KT KING/Tulsa World
A sea of color fills the air after runners completed the 5K course. Each runner was given a bag of color to throw in the air to celebrate completing the run. KT KING/Tulsa World
Runners throw opened bags of color in the air in a post-race celebration at Veterans Park. KT KING/Tulsa World
Runners prepare to start Saturday morning for The Color Run. Participants -- estimated at 10,000 -- were encouraged to wear white shirts in anticipation of getting splashed with color during the run. KT KING/Tulsa World