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Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Runners get blasted with color as they take off from the start of the Easter Seals ARC Color Vibe 5K run on Saturday at Johnny Appleseed Park. The route began and ended at Memorial Coliseum.

Colorful run raises money for ARC

Participants in the 5K throw colored corn starch in the air during the post-race dance party.

The Adams Central girls’ cross country team showed up in Fort Wayne for a 5K run Saturday morning.

They didn’t win.

But then again, the run wasn’t timed and there was no prize for finishing first. The real goal of the run, a fundraiser for Easter Seals ARC called Color Vibe, was to see how dirty you could get.

And the cross country runners got dirty. Whitney Baller was covered in various colors of dyed corn starch, with an especially big clump of green on the right side of her face. Getting dirty, after all, was a lot more fun than running, said Karly Prichard, another team member.

Altogether, about 1,200 runners, some on foot, some pushing baby carriages, and some in wheelchairs (borrowed, by the way) took part in the event, which started and finished in the Memorial Coliseum parking lot and followed part of the Rivergreenway. Every participant got a small packet of dyed corn starch to sprinkle over themselves or anyone else they wanted.

Along the route, volunteers, some using their hands, some using squirt bottles and some using leaf blowers, did their best to coat the runners at color stations along the route.

In the end, about 1,600 pounds of the colored food product got blown, sprayed, thrown and tossed over the course of the run, and if anyone didn’t feel quite dirty enough, all they had to do was roll on the ground in the Coliseum parking lot, which was thick with the died powder.

Color Vibe, which was inspired by an Indian festival of colors, is run by a Utah company that has only been putting them on for about a year. It’s caught on fast, though. There are up to eight Color Vibe events per month around the country, according to race director Nate Sorensen. The average event attracts 5,000 people looking to get dirty and the largest so far has attracted 9,000 people.

The colored corn starch, by the way, is a secret formula developed for Color Vibe.