Color transforms T-town 5K

Story By Lauren Erdman

Photo by Gigi Eyre

TUSCALOOSA | Usually, Tuscaloosa streets are filled with houndstooth and crimson on Saturdays in the fall, but this weekend neon paint replaced the traditional colors.

The Color Run, the self-proclaimed ‘Happiest 5K on the Planet,’ stopped in Tuscaloosa. Participants started the race in pristine, white shirts and finished covered in colorful paint dust thrown on them at four markers in the race. The run began at 8 a.m. in Munny Sokol Park on Saturday.

“The Color Run is the event you have to participate in,” said Jessika White, communication specialist for the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission.

White said more than 3,300 people were registered for the event, coming from all over just to run or walk in The Color Run. What’s attracting such a large crowd? Do that many people really want to get paint thrown at them by strangers?

“The thrill of getting covered in paint is what gets people going and motivated to keep on running during the Color Run,” said Bradley Burroughs, a junior at Auburn University, after The Color Run in Atlanta. “At each stop we stayed a little extra longer just to get more and more covered. It didn’t even feel like I had just run 3.1 miles. It feels like you just ran a lap around a track and are celebrating by covering yourself in paint.”

The race aims to give participants an opportunity to break up the monotony and chore of exercise with the twist of getting to frolic in paint while running or walking.

“I did the Birmingham run, and it rained the whole time,” said Brittany Youngs, a senior majoring in communication studies. “But it was probably the most fun I have ever had. People were making ‘slip and slides’ on the wet tarps in the middle of the race and dancing through the puddles of color.”

The Color Run offers a great way to get involved in a physical activity or stay active to help curb overweight and obesity, which are problematic in Alabama. With national obesity rates on the rise, Alabama is inching toward the top of the list with the fourth highest rate in the nation at about 32 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s website, which offers helpful tips for staying healthy, suggests exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week. Depending on how fast you run or walk, participating in The Color Run could account for about half of the recommended exercise time.

“I walked most of The Color Run, and I didn’t feel any pressure from anyone to run at all,” Youngs said. “It just reiterated what the organization’s website said about the run- you can walk, run, jog backward, do cart wheels, skip, whatever.”

Not only does The Color Run’s website encourage participants to go at their own pace, it also urges people to sign up regardless of their skill level or age, promising an enjoyable experience for anyone.

“The appeal of these events, I think, especially to older generations, is the rarity,” said Terri Keasler, a Birmingham resident who planned to attend The Color Run on Saturday. “When else is someone going to get the opportunity