by Natalie Stewart
A sea of people donning pristine white took their marks at the starting line Saturday morning during the second annual Color Up 5k at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
Robert Sheehan, who was the first to cross the finish line during the untimed race in about 15 minutes, said he heard about the Color Up 5k just hours before it was set to begin.
“I’ve never run in a color run before. I found out about it a few hours before it started and wanted to come run, and see if I could find a few people I know out here,” he said. “This was my first experience, and the color made it a lot of fun.”
Although runners started the colorful race in immaculate white T-shirts, as they made their way through the little more than 3-mile course, four color zones complete with color bombs transformed them into tie-dyed works of art by the time they crossed the finish line.
Peggie Williams and Jenn Wood, wearing colorful homemade tutus, eagerly stood at the starting line ready to run through the sea of color.
“The camaraderie of the run makes it a lot of fun,” Wood said. “It’s something fun, but it’s healthy, too.”
Williams said she appreciates the organization’s willingness to give back to the community hosting the run.
“It’s nice that wherever this run is, it benefits the area it’s in,” she said.
The race allows participants to “Color up for a Cause,” with $5 from each race fee going to benefit building the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood Memorial, which will honor the 13 killed and 32 wounded in the on-post shooting five years ago.
Fred Latham, former Killeen mayor and spokesman for the memorial committee, said the committee estimates it will receive more than $10,000 from the race.
“It’s an awesome turnout. There are more than 2,200 people here supporting our cause; it feels wonderful,” he said. “They all signed up to participate in something that is fun, and also honors the people who made that sacrifice. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
Terri Ross, Color Up 5k owner, said the organization is successful because it gives participants the opportunity to have fun and give back to their community at the same time.
“It’s all about creating a fun, entertaining experience from the time participants get here to the very end,” she said.
After the four waves of participants completed the course, they converged in front of the stage for a color party complete with a disc jockey, dancing and color tosses.