Spirited locals participate in annual Color Run

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Participants of the Color Run dance in clouds of color after completing the five kilometer run, Saturday. Runners were pelted with corn based powder paint at checkpoints throughout the race.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

More than a thousand Austinites brought their white shirts and barreled through explosions of multicolored paint as they traversed hills and mud as part of the annual Austin Color Run on Saturday.

The five-kilometer run is a cross country race that uses corn-based powder paint to mark the distance traveled by runners, creating huge “color explosions” at each kilometer checkpoint. According to the Color Run’s website, all of the paint is natural, edible and washes off. The run tours through cities across the U.S., and this year’s run in Austin was hosted at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park, where runners launched across the landscape in waves of around 200 people every 15 minutes.

Large tracts of the circuit were covered in five to six inches of mud, left over from the previous night’s downpour. This made the race difficult, but gave the Color Run another way to be fun, said psychology junior and runner Jessica Marks.

“We didn’t expect all the mud, and the hills added a different element,” Marks said. “It was not the same thing we had anticipated, but the difficulty added to the fun. I still had a great experience, even though my shoes and everything were completely ruined.”

Runners were divided into three lanes according to their preferred speed, but the mud forced participants to walk through certain parts of the tract, said Marks.

Biology junior Jesus Torres said he runs five kilometer races two to three times a year and that the rain made the Color Run more fun rather than a struggle.

“I would definitely recommend the Color Run to anyone who wants to run a 5K,” Torres said. “It was well organized and everything ran smoothly. The hills were especially hard, but everyone decided to hang out and throw powder paint at the end. They even offered food and water.”

According to the website, 10 percent of all the proceeds went to Austin’s Habitat for Humanity. The Color Run gives part of its profits to a nonprofit organization in every city that it visits.

When runners reached the end of the race they were greeted with one last massive explosion of color, music and dancing. Participants could then compare the amount of paint they had and take pictures with their group or other participants, said computer science sophomore and runner Ana Lage.

“It was cold, the mud was like quicksand and I had to take my shoes off not to break an ankle, but we just had fun slipping around and getting paint thrown at us. And the party at the end definitely made it worth it,” Lage said. “It was so much agony that it ended up being funny.”

Printed on Monday, February 6, 2012 as: Color Run participants persevere despite muddy course