Last weekend I drove to southeast Texas to visit my boyfriend and run in the most colorful 5K ever. The Gift of Life Ribbon Run Color Rush 5K is an annual fundraiser to support cancer treatments and screenings for women who can’t afford it.
Along the downtown Beaumont course, tunnels of volunteers toss colored cornstarch at you; by the time they cross the finish, runners are dyed head to toe in pink, purple, blue, and green. (See our before-and-after pictures below).
Although most runners wore the bright pink race tee, Nick and I wore white shirts this year so that the color would be more outstanding. A local marching band and dance team were already starting the party when we arrived at 7 am.
After losing Nick in the crowd, I found a spot near the front of the race corral. America’s Got Talent finalist Christina Wells sang the national anthem. She has an incredible voice, and–for those of you who haven’t seen her on the show–she was rejected from opportunities to be a singer because of her weight. However, she overcame this with her recent success on America’s Got Talent and her story has a happy ending.
The run kicked off at 8 am. It was slow getting started, but once I got out of the crowd, I fell into my usual 5K pace, crossing the finish line with a time a little under 28 minutes. Although the race wasn’t timed, I was able to time myself with the Apple watch. It sure is a neat little gadget–but I don’t recommend it for color runs. The powder got into it and made it glitchy for a couple days.
After the race, Nick and I took lots of pictures and cooled down with a walk around downtown. In Wellness Village, many vendors provided health information, including Lamar Department of Kinesiology and the local public health office.
To achieve full color coverage, the group gathered at 9:30 am for the Color Blast. All runners crowded into one area, armed with bags of color, and counted down from ten–to throw the pigmented powder at each other, in the air, and on themselves. Once the cloud of powder settled, the group was like a living rainbow.
After another round of pictures with our second color coating, Nick and I hit the food truck area and got a couple slices of Rotolo’s pizza. It was cheesy and amazing, especially after running 3.1 miles.
We headed to the stage area for the post-race celebration. Emceeing were the local news anchors; they introduced and thanked many people. A pastor gave a message of hope and healing. The marching band revved up the crowd with “Survivor” by Beyonce. And then, for the main event, Christina Wells sang “Natural Woman” and “This is Me.” Cancer survivors in the audience went to the stage and swayed with signs saying “Courage” or “I am Strong.” After her moving performance, we blew bubbles into the air to honor all those who did not survive the battle with cancer. Christina ended the event with a powerful rendition of “I Will Survive.”
The #golribbonrun is one of my favorite road races. It’s colorful, beautiful, and inspiring. The proceeds go to a great cause, it promotes health and disease prevention, and the post-race party is super fun. We’ll be back for years to come!