Austin’s dash of color

Published 5:39 am Monday, August 19, 2013

600 runners raise $6K through 5K

More than 600 people got blasted by color Sunday at the first annual Color Dash 5K Run/Walk in downtown Austin.

Five local organizations partnered with the Color Dash to put together the fundraiser and have earned almost $6,000 thus far from participants, though organizers have yet to add the total.

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“It was just a great event,” said Gail Dennison, director of development and public relations for The Hormel Institute. “It was great to see families enjoy it, great to see families together for good causes.”

Dennison was the one who sought out the Color Dash, an Owatonna organization that puts a twist on fun runs by adding “color zones,” areas where volunteers “color blast” participants as they run by. Color Dash calls itself “the world’s brightest 5K.”

Though the Institute had looked at the Color Dash as a Fourth of July event, Dennison said Institute officials didn’t want to interfere with the annual Hog Jog and decided the event may work better as a kickoff of sorts to the Austin ArtWorks Festival.

That’s why Dennison and The Institute decided to partner with Austin ArtWorks Festival/Vision 2020, Austin hospital, Austin Area Foundation, and Riverland Community College athletics to have five organizations represented for a 5K fundraiser.

“It was a lot more fun than I had even expected,” said Jennie Knoebel, executive director of the ArtWorks Festival. Knoebel ran in the 5K yesterday.

After the race, all participants received a packet of color, which they tossed into the air to create a color explosion for all to go through, in effect creating a little art out of themselves.

“It was a lot of fun,” Knoebel said. “It was great.”

Though nothing is set in stone, Knoebel and Dennison both said groups are looking to bring the Color Dash back next year.