Update: 500 signed up for first Color Dash

Published 4:51 pm Friday, August 16, 2013

Austin is ready for a dash of color this weekend.

More than 500 people have already registered for Austin’s first Color Dash 5K Walk/Fun Run set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Downtown Power Plant, where the route also will end.

Participants of all ages will run or walk a 5-kilometer loop from the power plant to The Hormel Institute to Mill Pond and back to the power plant. The rain-or-shine event is not a timed race. Along the route, Color Dash volunteers at five “color zones” about every one kilometer will “color blast” participants as they go by. The Owatonna-based Color Dash organization calls itself “the world’s brightest 5K.”

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The event will benefit The Hormel Institute’s cancer research along with four other nonprofits: Austin ArtWorks Festival/Vision 2020, Mayo Clinic Health System, Austin Area Foundation, and Riverland Community College Athletics.

On Thursday, The Hormel Institute added colorful flags along 16th Avenue Northeast in front of its facility along with a “Color Dash” banner and large ring of colorful balloons on its rooftop in preparation for the dash.

The event serves as an early kickoff to the second annual Austin ArtWorks Festival the following weekend at the power plant.

Individuals can sign up for $30 each and families can register for $70 per team, limited to six people living at the same address. Family team registrations include two white shirts and three color pouches. Additional shirts are $15 each; extra color pouches are $3 each. Children age 5 and younger are free, not including a shirt or color pouch. No pets are allowed on the route.

Online registration and a route map are available at www.thecolordash5k.com/austin-minnesota.

Same-day registration will start at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Downtown Power Plant. Pre-registered participants also can begin checking in for their race-day packet at that time.

The coloring used in the event is natural and safe, as it consists of food-grade corn starch and food-grade coloring, according to the Color Dash organization. The event’s color throwers will ensure “color dashers” get as much or as little color on them as they like. Some dashers choose to wear glasses or goggles as color should stay out of the eyes, and use a bandana or dust mask for their mouth.

After the 5K, organizers will coordinate a finale “color explosion” at the Downtown Power Plant. All are encouraged then to shake off the coloring dust before getting into a vehicle. Participants can shower to remove coloring from skin, and may decide to spray vinegar on their clothing and iron it. A separate 5K event, the Haitian Hustle, is being planned that weekend at Faith Evangelical Free Church.