Those craving to see a rainbow in April will not have to wait any longer for rainfall; SLO Color Blast Fun Run participants had the entire spectrum of color on their faces and clothes.
Laguna Middle School welcomed adults and children from the San Luis Obispo community on April 14 as they ran and walked a five-kilometer course in which colored powder was thrown at them along the way. The Fun Run was previously held at San Luis Obispo High School, but recent construction prompted a change of location to the local middle school.
The event was hosted by Black and Gold Boosters, an organization that raises money for club activities at San Luis Obispo high school, and the Alex Maier Memorial Fund & Scholarships.
Alex Maier was a San Luis Obispo high school senior who passed away in a car accident in 2013. He was a varsity soccer player whose life motto was to “choose happiness,” and the SLO Color Blast Fun Run was created as a way to remember him.
Sabrina Jenkins served as the chair of this year’s SLO Color Blast Fun Run while also serving as Project Support Coordinator for the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the College of Engineering.
“It’s like having two full-time jobs,” Jenkins said. “But it’s fun, it’s all worth it.”
Preparation for the run was a long and intensive process, beginning in September and relying on the support of a number of different community sponsors to make the event happen. Jenkins said she was happy with the turnout.
“We are very fortunate to come from an amazing community where the businesses here really rallied together to support everything in San Luis Obispo,” Jenkins said.
One sponsorship with the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department and the Women Honor Farm provided 700 bandanas to participants who wanted to keep the colored powder out of their faces. The bandanas were handmade by female inmates who regularly sew fabrics and donate them to the community.
There was also a community member who came to lead participants in a Zumba dance warmup before the race began.
Those who wanted to douse oncoming runners in color could choose to be a gold sponsor and man their own color station along the course. Gold sponsors were supplied with adequate ammunition: Bags of corn starch mixed in with food coloring, which were non-toxic and easily removable.
The shirts distributed to participants upon registration (sporting Alex Maier’s soccer number “23” on the front) conveniently came in the color white, with the idea of turning the shirt into a “colorful masterpiece you can keep,” according to the Color Blast Fun Run website.
Tess Bolster-White, a seventh-grader at Laguna Middle School, managed to get her entire shirt and face coated in purple. Still, Bolster-White said she thinks more could have been done.
“At SLO High, most of it is on concrete, so when they run out of color you can roll on the ground and collect color. You can’t do that here because of the grass,” Bolster-White said.
Even if participants didn’t want to get color thrown at them—a simple waving of hands over their head while running by stations could prevent this— they could still join in the excitement of being surrounded by so many people who continue to keep Alex Maier’s legacy alive. This aspect keeps Lorinda Brouwer’s involvement as secretary of Black & Gold Boosters meaningful.
“It’s just nice seeing everybody and being a community and doing something positive,” Brouwer said.
With the 2019 Color Blast Fun Run now under wraps, it is only a matter of time before a new team begins to plan for the next one. In any case, it definitely won’t be gray.