by Eric Stearley
Wabash County 4-Hers and their families gathered at the Field of Dreams on Saturday, March 29 for the first ever Color Me Green fun run and 5K. Despite sleet, snow, and the resulting muddy course, nearly 80 participants left the comfort of their homes to raise money for two causes, while having a lot of fun.
The state-wide event is part of the 4-H Healthy Living Campaign and organizes 4-H participants and supporters for a day of community, fitness and lots of 4-H green. As part of their paid registration, participants received a white t-shirt proudly announcing the event on front and back. The color came into play as participants launched packets of green powder into the air at the start of the run, beginning the process of turning their white shirts green.
As they walked and ran around the 1-mile course, volunteers continued to turn the runners green, squirting the powder, made of green pigment and cornstarch, out of ketchup bottles as they ran by. As the run continued, some volunteers took a more direct approach, bypassing the squirt bottles by throwing the colored powder at the runners’ shirts. As expected, not much of the powder missed the t-shirts, covering shoes, pants, faces, and hair in 4-H green.
Originally scheduled to start at separate times, the 1-mile fun run/walk and the 5K run were combined into a single race due to the cold, icy conditions. Even with the less-than-ideal weather, it would have been difficult to find a kid on the course that wasn’t having fun as they were covered in green head to toe.
“I had never even heard of a color run before the state called us,” said Wabash County 4-H Youth Educator Angela Christopher. “It has been a very fun learning experience.”
One hundred twenty individuals registered for the event, but the lousy weather kept about 40 at home. Even so, everyone’s registration money will be put to good use. Half will go to a local food pantry as part of the Indiana 4-H Take a Bite Out of Hunger campaign. The remaining money will be used to buy new tables on which student projects will be displayed in the 4-H building during future Wabash County Fairs.
“We do see this becoming an annual event, and there may be another sneaking in before then,” said Christopher. “I was very happy to see the number of people who came out as a family.”
She also hopes that the weather is a bit nicer next time around. Christopher and the rest of the organizers would like to thank Bill Barrows at the YMCA for opening up the complex and allowing them to use the facility. They would like to thank Chad Andrews, the Northfield High School cross country coach for scouting, measuring, and reviewing the course, as well as Jonathan Collins, a junior leader who set up cones and flags to prepare the course. Finally, they would like to thank the volunteers the helped register participants and color the kids green.