By Shannon Findley
Music, contests, dancing, and prize handouts are a few of the many activities that will be happening at 9 a.m. on May 10 at Waco’s BSR Cable Park.
Runners of all ages will gather, decked out in all white, for the crazy and colorful Color Me Rad 5K run.
The Color Me Rad 5K, which has been held in Waco for two years running, gets its name from special color “bombs” thrown at racers throughout the course.
“By the end of the run they’ll look like a kindergarten art project gone oh-so-right,” said Gretchen Willard, Color Me Rad 5K director of public relations.
The Color Me Rad 5K run is held in most states and is more about runners enjoying themselves and having a good time than it is about winning.
“The main purpose of Color Me Rad is to have fun while you’re getting fit,” Willard said. “It’s an excuse to let loose.”
Any person of any age can run in the Color Me Rad 5K, and registration is online at colormerad.com. Running in teams is encouraged, and kids younger than 7 years old run free. The run on May 10 has three different time slots at 9 a.m., 9:10 a.m., and 9:20 a.m. The three different time slots have been implemented to accommodate the large number of participants at the race, but the course of the run remains the same for each starting time. Spots are filling up quickly, with the 9 a.m. time slot already sold out, so anyone interested in participating is encouraged to register as soon as possible.
Color Me Rad is a for-profit event that donates part of the proceeds of each run to a local charity in the city where the run takes place. In Waco, Color Me Rad’s charity partner is Baylor Buddies, a Baylor-based organization that focuses on mentoring kids from the Waco ISD school system.
“Everyone is required to mentor their child for at least one hour a week,” said Baylor student Morgan Hall, Baylor Buddies coordinating director.
Baylor Buddies is a locally recognized mentorship program that is partnered with Communities and Schools, a government organization in Waco. The children that are mentored through Baylor Buddies range in age from early elementary school through middle school. Baylor Buddies allows Baylor students to act as positive role models, develop relationships with children in the community and mature as leaders.
The bulk of the 10 percent of proceeds that Baylor Buddies receives from the Color Me Rad 5K will be used to help pay for Baylor Buddies events such as Baylor basketball games as well as trips to Cameron Park Zoo and Waco’s Skate Country roller skating rink. Additional funds will go to mentor appreciation gifts, and resources and supplies for mentors.
In the past, the Color Me Rad 5K has had between 3,000 and 10,000 participants. With registration beginning at $35, Baylor Buddies can expect anywhere between $10,500 and $35,000 of funding from the run for the 2014-2015 school year, Hall said.
Hall has been involved in the program for the past three years. Hall is passionate about the impact Baylor Buddies has had on so many kids’ lives in the Waco area thanks, in big part, to charitable donations from organizations such as Color Me Rad.
“I’ve had the same buddy for three years and it’s just been really cool to see her grow as a person,” Hall said.
The Color Me Rad 5K brings excitement to the sport of running through color, loud music and a total disregard for speed.
“Everyone is a winner at Color Me Rad,” Willard said. “And every person wins a great time.”