Color Run bursts through downtown Lawrence

An eruption of color hit Lawrence today as thousands of area residents turned out for the Color Run downtown.

The 5-kilometer Color Run promotes healthy living by encouraging participants to be active — with a dose of fun: Runners are covered in a rainbow of colors as they pass by different color zones.

After the popular Color Run Saturday in Lawrence, participants toss color packets on themselves in Watson Park.

Joanna Meyers, run director for Lawrence, said about 3,000 people ran the course this morning.

“The weather broke and we had a great morning,” she said.

While not a charitable organization itself, Color Run does donate a portion of the event proceeds to local charities. This year money will be donated to Van Go Inc., an arts-based social service organization. The donation amount was not immediately known today. Jessica Nixon, Color Run public relations specialist, said the organization donated $600,000 nationally last year and plans to donate more than $1 million this year.

Lawrence residents Shane and Jen Boden went to run for the first time this year because they thought it would be a good Saturday activity.

“It’s an explosion of color down there,” Shane said.

The run also brought in runners from surrounding areas. Michelle Schaeffer, of Overland Park, ran in her wedding dress with her husband, Brandon. Michelle said trashing wedding dresses is a popular trend, and she wanted to do it in an especially fun way.

“A lot of people jump in the pool or ocean,” she said. “I thought this would be more fun.”

Brandon seemed to support the idea.

“I wanted to wear an all-white suit but couldn’t find anything,” he said.

Tiffany Phipps, of Olathe, brought her 2-year-old son, Falcon, to the run. Even though she pushed a stroller the whole time, she said it wasn’t a problem. Falcon, who was covered in blue, orange and pink powder, actually used his own two legs for much of the run.

“We asked him if he wanted to ride, and he said, ‘No, it’s too messy,'” grandma Wendy Morrison said.

The Color Run can create quite a mess. Meyers said the color is food-grade corn starch that should come out of clothes within a few washes.

As far as downtown goes, she said a crew worked most of today cleaning up Watson Park and Tennessee and Kentucky streets, where the run took place. A follow-up check will be done Sunday morning to make sure nothing was missed.

The Lawrence City Commission required organizers of the run to submit a $20,000 deposit to ensure the downtown area is properly cleaned. The $20,000 deposit is a first for the city for this type of event.

On Friday, city public works officials had said it would take a few days after the run for them to determine whether the run’s organizers had provided the required supervision and cleanup to get the deposit back.