Colored powder fills the air as participants running in Sunday’s Color Dash take part in the post race color explosion. -- Herald file photo
Colored powder fills the air as participants running in Sunday’s Color Dash take part in the post race color explosion. -- Herald file photo

Archived Story

Color Dash to brighten area

Published 10:15am Thursday, July 10, 2014

Several area organizations hope to add another dash of color to this summer.

The second Color Dash 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, starting and ending once again at the Downtown Austin Power Plant along Fourth Avenue Northeast.

There are still a few details to work out, but this year’s color dash should be just as exciting and — forgive the pun — colorful as last year. The all-ages event — which is a fun run in that it is not a timed race — will happen rain or shine.

Proceeds from this year’s event will support The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned cancer research and the third annual Austin ArtWorks Festival, which takes place the following weekend (Aug. 23-24) at the Downtown Power Plant.

The colorful 5K was brought to Austin last year as an early kickoff for the arts festival. It is put on by The Color Dash, an Owatonna-based group that calls its event “the world’s brightest 5K” and offers it nationwide.

“People can put a little color in their life by being part of this great event for good causes,” said Bonnie Rietz, co-chair of the Austin ArtWorks Festival. “Everyone has fun with an artistic flare and that showed very much through last year’s Color Dash.”

More than 700 people took part in last year’s Color Dash, which was put together by the Austin ArtWorks Festival, Hormel Institute, Austin Area Foundation, Vision 2020 and Riverland Community College. The 3.1 mile run raised $5,000.

Color Dash, an organization out of Owatonna, puts a twist on fun runs by adding color zones, where volunteers blast participants with color to great effect. This year’s co-sponsors include the Austin ArtWorks Festival/Vision 2020 and the Hormel Institute.

This year’s route will be mostly similar, with the exception of a few new sections added due to the flood wall work near the Downtown Mill Pond. Also, once past Packer Arena the route will flow clockwise — opposite from last year — to The Hormel Institute and back.

Coloring used during the run/walk is made from food-grade cornstarch and food-grade coloring that are 100 percent natural and safe, according to the Color Dash. Participants are encouraged after the event to shake off the coloring dust before getting in a vehicle; it also might take one or two showers to return to normal skin tone. Some participants opt to wear glasses or goggles and use a bandana or dust mask for their mouths.

Pre-registration is available online on the Color Dash 5K website: www.thecolordash5k.com/austin-mn.html. Paid registration provides each participant with a Color Dash pack that includes a white T-shirt, dash bib, Color Dash tattoo and a color pack for the event’s “Color Explosion” finale.

Cost (not including processing fees) is $40 per individual or $35 per team member (teams must be at least four people and limited to 16 people); ages 5 and younger are free. Families (whose members must all live in the same household) can participate for $85 for three members, with each additional family member up to six being $15 per individual.

Same-day registration will be available starting at 7 a.m. at the Downtown Power Plant but will cost more than pre-registration. Race packet pickup also will begin at 7 a.m. the day of the event, with the run/walk starting at 9 a.m.

Strollers for children are allowed on the 5K run/walk route; pets, however, are prohibited. Shirts and color also will be available for purchase the day of the event.


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