Charity events have been going on for years, but with new interactive runs the events have become more about the entertainment than the speed of the race.
With runs like the Color Run, Mud Run, and The Bubble Run, participants nationally are focusing more on the adventure, than the charity. And that spirit has come to Arizona.
“Our tag line is “The happiest 5k on the planet” for a reason. That line was created after seeing how happy it made people,” said Travis Snyder, the founder and executive director of The Color Run, in an email interview.
Hilary Davis traveled from Minnesota to Phoenix to run The Color Run Jan. 26. Davis, an avid runner, participates in many charity runs, for the distance, and the amusement. “I mostly came for the fun, but the charity is a bonus,” said Davis.
There were 13,500 participants who signed up for the Tempe event.This run was the start to the national tour.
Just a year ago, The Color Run was introduced to Phoenix and made its way to 50 cities in the United States and two international cities. Within the last year, there have been 600,000 participants who have supported more than 50 local and national charities.
This year, The Color Run plans on expanding its tour to more than 100 cities with a prediction of one million participants.
Each run represents a different charity. The Phoenix event sponsored the “Special Olympics Arizona and Banner Health because we like to work with local charities that are involved with the community” says Nixon.
Snyder began creating his own running events 10 years ago to create a nonthreatening running environment. He wanted professional and inexperienced runners to come together and enjoy the purity of the sport. Last year, 60 percent of the participants were first time 5k runners.
“The Color Run has had more first time 5k runners that any other event in history,” says Nixon.
Justine Miller, a first time runner, was enticed into participating in the Color Run from friends. “I was forced into doing this, but its a lot of fun and I want to do more fun runs like these, it gets me active and going” said Miller.
“I plan on doing the Mud Run in March, who wants to do a regular run when you can run in color, mud, or bubbles?” Miller said.
The Mud Run is making its way to Pheonix Feb. 23.
LoziLu Women’s Mud Run is a run for women to participate in to help fund cancer and leukemia. Five percent of the “registration is donated directly to The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) to support research and young patients” with cancer. While registering, attendants have the option of donating more funds to LIFE if they wish.
The Bubble Run, which began in 2012, only coordinated three events. This year organizers plan on holding a minimal of 30 events nationally. The Bubble Run sponsors local charities and the Sharing Hope Foundation (SHF), which develops programs to help educate those in other counties, to learn how to provide health care services.
The Bubble Run is not making its way to Arizona this year, but plans on it when they have become more established.
Events like these are gathering communities together to accomplish a goal. Little do the participants know, they are making a difference with every step they take.