LIFE in Color
By Alex Vejar
It’s just before 9 a.m. The sun is shining, the morning breeze is refreshing, and thousands of people huddle up as they wait for an experience which has become quite popular in recent years. While everyone waits—all wearing the same shirts and sporting similar sunglasses—a live DJ plays upbeat dance music which blares throughout Rancho Jurupa Park. Some individuals are stretching. Others are conversing with their friends or making new ones. Some even dance Zumba to get their blood flowing before embarking on this short journey. Members of the Riverside community are finally getting their own color run.
On Nov. 9, Rancho Jurupa Park will host the Color Vibe 5K, where colored powder will be thrown at runners as they pass by color stations along a set 3.1-mile route. It will be the first run of its type hosted in Riverside County. Kade Richardson, event coordinator for the Color Vibe, wants participants to have fun, but also feels 5K runs could promote a healthy lifestyle. “A 5K is a great way to really start if you’re looking to get running or looking to get more active in your life,” Richardson said. “This is just, for us, a really great opportunity to raise awareness in that aspect.”
Taylor Spencer, event director for the Color Vibe, feels the health aspect is not the only positive aspect of the run. “We provide an event that allows them to come out, do something unique and something that’s great for your health and good for your body, and also something that’s really visually stimulating and appealing,” Spencer said.
On race day, runners will go along a circular path and be doused with blue, green, yellow, pink and purple colors at four separate “color zones.” Richardson said the colored powder is corn-starch based, which makes it non-toxic as well as more vibrant, edible and biodegradable. Richardson also said the color will not stain clothing. “The color definitely adds a unique and fun aspect to the race, and I think that’s definitely appealing,” Richardson said. “You just come, have a ton of fun, and [there is] easy cleanup, so no real worries there.”
After participants cross the finish line, an after-party begins, featuring music from a live DJ and lots of dancing. The parties have been a part of the Color Vibe runs since the events started over a year ago. Richardson said what sets the Color Vibe 5Ks apart from similar color-themed runs is the dance parties after the race is over. “As the racers are finishing, they come [to the after-party] and the fun keeps going,” Richardson said. “We really like to interact with everyone who’s there, try to get people on the stage having fun.” Riverside’s event will feature DJ Xist.
Spencer said the bulk of the excitement happens at the staging area, which is near the start and finish lines of the race. “There’s a lot of energy before the race even starts — we’ve got music blaring, we’re doing fun stuff around the stage, we’re doing stretches, sometimes Zumba,” Spencer said. “Everyone’s happy and excited to be there.”
Richardson said the company realizes not all people who run 5Ks are athletes or even habitual runners, and they try to take that into account with every event. “We really try to make this as non-intimidating as we can,” Richardson said. Richardson feels the length of the race makes it possible for a variety of people to enjoy the event, and he has even seen families with children participate in the 5K. “That’s the great [thing]—you can run, walk, crawl, skip; it doesn’t matter, just come and have fun,” Richardson said.
Richardson visited Riverside in order to gauge the potential success of having the Color Vibe 5K somewhere in the county, and was pleased with what he saw. He will be present for the event on Nov. 9. “I really felt like the downtown just area had a really cool feel,” Richardson said. “I feel like people in Riverside County were proud of where they live from what I saw. I’m excited to come out and get to know the people a little bit more.” Spencer agreed with Richardson about hosting the event in Riverside. “We just saw that there’s a good population and a rather active community, so we just figured it’d be a good place to hit up.”
Spencer stated many reasons why a person would want to participate in a 5K. “People are just looking for a unique event to attend,” Spencer said. “Also, it being a 5K, health and wellness is trending really hot right now, so people want to get out and be more active. And a lot of people just want to show off and show their friends that they did something cool [and] they changed their Facebook profile pictures and all that fun stuff.”
Each Color Vibe 5K event partners with and donates to a charity organization. The Color Vibe is partnering with the Salvation Army in Riverside County for the November event. “Together, we just spread the word about this race [and] try to get people to come out and have fun,” said Richardson, who feels the partnerships are mutually beneficial. “It’s great to do so knowing that you’re helping out the community.”
Richardson felt the Salvation Army was a good fit as a partner because of their involvement in the community. “We see how their really doing a lot for Riverside county and that’s something that struck us as well,” Richardson said. Spencer appreciates the past experiences the company has had with Salvation Armies in other cities.
“We’ve worked with Salvation Army before and they’ve been really great to work with,” Spencer said. “They’ve brought out several volunteers and helped out a lot with the runs and have been really excited to be a part of it.”
Eilyn Dawes, community relations manager for the Salvation Army in Riverside and the Riverside County Adult Rehabilitation Center, applied for the charity to be the partner for the run after seeing a Facebook post by the company. “Any charity could’ve been chosen,” said Dawes, who will be running the 5K along with some of her coworkers. “I am very grateful that the Color Vibe chose us.”
A portion of the money made by the Color Vibe will be donated to the county’s Adult Rehabilitation Center, a free drug and alcohol facility which houses 125 men in recovery. The center provides work-therapy programs, housing, food and clothing to the residents. Other organizations that have partnered with Color Vibe events are the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Ronald McDonald House and others. “It’s really cool to see different organizations that have different models and goals and to be able to help each of these individually,” Richardson said.
The 5K will be held in Rancho Jurupa Park, which is 350 acres and has recently been renovated with camp grounds, a miniature golf course, playgrounds, picnic areas, fishing lakes and walking/hiking trails. The park has held several different kinds of 5Ks in the past, but this is the first one that will involve color. Kyla Brown, chief of parks and recreation for Riverside county, was excited that one of Riverside’s parks was chosen by the Color Vibe for an event.
“It’s a great avenue to have healthy activities available locally, and it’s a great way for us to partner with community organizations to get people outdoors and get them doing something healthy versus sitting at home,” Brown said. Brown feels the park, which runs along the Santa Ana river, is an ideal place to hold events, including the 5K, which will be solely held within the park. “It’s a great place to host an event because there’s ample open space, it’s a beautiful setting, there’s plenty of parking and you don’t have to go out into the city streets and work with multiple partners to get things closed off,” Browns said.
Brown feels the participants who attend the various events organized by the park have a positive experience. “[For] many people, it’s their first time to our parks,” Brown said. “They’re usually happy with the event and they’re excited to learn about the park and see it for the first time.” Brown said the Color Vibe run falls into a county competition called Thrive Across America, an eight-week program where employees will engage in various physical activities and track their progress.
Registration for the Color Vibe 5K costs $43.95. On race day, the amount increases to $50. Runners under the age of 7 can attend for free.
Each runner will receive a packet which includes a Color Vibe t-shirt, sunglasses and the participant’s runner number. Runners will also receive a pair of sunglasses to help shield their eyes from the color powder that is thrown at them.
When the race starts, runners will be sent in waves of 400 to 500 people. The first wave of runners will leave at 9 a.m. The event generally lasts from about 9 a.m. — 10:30 a.m., with the after-party starting after the racers finish the run.
In regards to safety during the run, ambulances and emergency medical technicians will be on site in case an injury or ailment occurs. Local law enforcement, as well as third-party security personnel, will also be present.
Brown said the parks and recreation department will make sure the company holding the event has everything in order including safety and enough volunteers, and park rangers will help monitor the event on race day.
Richardson said there could be about 150 volunteers helping throw color powder, assisting runners with picking up their packets, and selling merchandise, which consists of t-shirts, hoodies, hats, bandanas, tutus and more. Richardson also said races typically average between 2,000 to 5,000 participants.
The company which owns Color Vibe got the inspiration to do color runs from a springtime Holy Festival of Color that is performed by a Hindu Temple in Utah, which is where the company is based. As part of the ritual, color power is thrown in air. “From there, it was just kind of a fun aspect that people here in the community are really involved in and setting it to a 5K,” Richardson said. The company hosted mud runs for several years before deciding to add color runs. Spencer feels the Color Vibe runs have a positive impact on the communities in which the events are held.
“Our goal is to be a really awesome and exciting event that the community loves and something that people see the good that we do with these runs too — not only just for entertainment value, but for donations and charity partnerships,” Spencer said. “We really want communities to be excited about us coming.”
Color Vibe 5K at Rancho Jurupa Park, 4800 Crestmore Rd., Jurupa Valley, www.thecolorvibe.com. Sat, Nov. 9. $40-$50.