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Feeling the color vibe

By Staff | Mar 29, 2016

They partied, they ran, and then partied some more, throwing around more color than there is in the rainbow.

Thousands of runners of all ages came to the Lee Civic Center on Saturday for the annual Color Vibe 5K run, with the goal of getting people in shape while having fun at the same time.

More than 3,500 runners signed up for the run, of which 60 percent had never run a 5K in their lives.

People were coming long before the 9 a.m. starting time. They registered, got their Color Vibe T-shirts on, and promptly splashed them in the multi-colored corn starch-based paint they were given with their registration.

“The appeal of the race is to bring something new and unique to get people off the couch and doing something active and fun,” said event director Taylor Spencer. “The people don’t wait.”

All color is 100 percent safe, edible and biodegradable. The powder can be washed off or vacuumed out of your car. Color Vibe handled the cleanup, with whatever color is left being washed away with the first rain.

Runners were encouraged to wear sunglasses and/or bandanas so keep from getting the powder in eyes or lungs.

Jackie Douglas, of Port Charlotte, brought her 10-year-old son, Dustin for the run.

“I came to spend time with my son. I did it last year and brought him for this,” Jackie said. “It’s a good vibe and everybody’s having a lot of fun.”

The pre-party got the runners warmed up thanks to the high-energy Zumba from Jaclyn from Crunch Fitness, and many of them couldn’t wait to let the colors fly.

Because of the numbers of runners, they were let go in several waves, five minutes apart. Of course, they were blasted with color at the starting line and at several locations throughout the 3.1-mile course.

It wasn’t about having the fastest time or finishing first, but to have fun with friends and family while working up a good sweat. But for those who are curious, Jillian Dempsey, an eighth-grader from Naples, was the first to cross the finish line.

Chelsea Emmerich and her boyfriend, Bradley Williams, hadn’t gone running for a while, but might do more after this.

“It was fun. It let me know I need to start running again,” Williams said.

Madeline Westfall, 16, of Cape Coral, was running her first 5K. She was surprised by how long it felt.

“I thought it would be shorter. It was a lot of fun. I volunteered for Color Vibe before, but never actually did a race. I want to do this again.”

After the run came the after-party, which featured paint battles which guaranteed few people left the complex clean. Even Supa Dave, the DJ, was clobbered with color as he took a selfie of himself and the thousands who partied to the beat.

Donita Brown, of San Carlos Park, brought family and friends to walk, all wearing multi-colored tutus as a way to raise awareness for cancer.

“It represents all the phases and aspects of cancer. We support all of it and are raising money for everybody to run for a cause,” Brown said. “More color, more vibe.”