By Selene D. Guerrero
© April 29, 2012
Color Me Rad will be more than a simple 5K run along a paved course.
Every half mile, volunteers will throw dyed corn starch onto runners, along with a machine that will shoot bursts of vibrant colors - a total of 10 hues and 1,000 pounds of starch.
At last check, 5,500 people had registered for the May 6 event at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.
"I haven't heard a buzz like this in a while," said Chuck Thornton, managing partner of Hometown Sports Management, which operates the Sportsplex. "It's a good concept, and I thought it was such a cool idea!"
Color Me Rad is a Utah-based business, putting on more than 20 similar events across the country this year.
Registration is $40 per participant, with a portion of the proceeds going to the YMCA of South Hampton Roads.
The event's rainbow twist stems from the Indian Holi Festival of Colors, a spring celebration where dyed corn starch is thrown in the air, according to Matt Ward, marketing manager for Color Me Rad.
Virginia Beach was selected based on the abundance of fun local races such as the Wicked 10K, Virginia Is For Lovers and the Shamrock series, Ward said.
Starting at 9 a.m., different groups of participants will head out from the start line every five minutes.
Each color station will be lined with Astroturf to allow for an easier clean-up of the course. Industrial street-sweepers will also pick up the mess.
The starch is nontoxic and biodegradable, Ward said.
Participants will start clean as a whistle, but cross the finish line looking like a "pack of Skittles," according to an advertisement for Color Me Rad.
After the run, participants pummel each other with more starch in a royal rumble of color. There will be music, a bounce house for children, several local vendors and beer for sale.
But don't expect to win a trophy. The event isn't timed - the organizers claim they don't even own a watch, easing any anxiety that first-time racers may have.
"The race is all in fun," Ward said. "We want it to be the gateway drug to running."
Selene Guerrero, firstname.lastname@example.org