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Health on the Hill, Stand-Alone Stories

Lawrence Color Run encourages all runners, regardless of fitness level

University of Kansas students are ready for the happiest, craziest 5K of their lives. The Color Run will paint Lawrence red and blue…and yellow, orange, green and pink Saturday, Oct. 6.

The excitement surrounding The Color Run attracts experienced runners and amateurs alike, and introduces more people to an active lifestyle.

“It appeals to anyone, whether they’re intense athletes, or just looking for a good time,” said Rachel Seitz, a sophomore from Hutchinson. “I know girls who have expressed interest in the run even though they don’t run, or like running.”

Jackson Cozzens, a spokesperson for The Color Run, said The Color Run has motivated all types of runners.

“The Color Run has been an inspiration to a lot of people to get out and get active,” Cozzens said. “Although we do see a lot of serious runners come out to experience a non-timed event, the majority of people are less experienced runners.”

Participants will run five kilometers (slightly more than three miles,) and will be doused with colorful powdered paint at each of the four kilometers leading up to the finish. At the end of the race, runners enter a color explosion. The Color Run’s video on YouTube explains the race best.

The run gained popularity quickly through social networking sites. Pictures and videos of paint-splattered runners dressed in all white blew up on sites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. This year, The Color Run became the fastest growing running event in history, according to a Color Run news release.

Seitz and Rachel Volk, a freshman from Newton, both heard about the run on Pinterest. Seitz and Volk will run with a group from Miller Scholarship Hall, where they both live.

“I was going to do it on my own,” Seitz said. “But I asked people if they would like to join me. It’s a lot more fun with friends.”

Cozzens quoted Travis Snyder, the executive director and creator of The Color Run, about the idea of creating a nonthreatening running event.

“Doing The Color Run is more about being social, a little more about the experience and mostly just about being,” Snyder said. “It’s less about expectation; it’s just fun.”

Stephen Opskar, a junior from Derby, is a personal trainer at the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center and plans to run in The Color Run next weekend. He said the social aspect of running helps to get people more involved, even himself, a self-motivated person.

“Especially with me, if I don’t want to go run and I don’t have someone else to go with me then I won’t go do it,” Opskar said. “If you have a partner, it holds you more accountable.”

A study by Gallup and Healthways supports what some students have already noticed: Americans are exercising more this year. Opskar said he sees more runners at the student recreation center this year than last year.

“I know a lot of people that don’t really run, but they want to do The Color Run, so they start running,” Opskar said. “I think people are realizing that they need to get out there and do something.”

Volk also said she thought more people have started running because of The Color Run, and that it appeals to a variety of runners.

“It’s not your typical 5K,” Volk said. “It’s more of a friendly get-together 5K; an activity rather than a workout.”

More than 6,300 runners and walkers had signed up to participate as of Sep. 24, said Bob Sanner, the executive director of the Lawrence Sports Corporation, a division of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Color Run will be in Downtown Lawrence next Saturday at 4 p.m.

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