Thousands of runners and walkers clad in clean white T-shirts, some wearing colorful wigs or tutus, poured onto Telfair Street on Saturday morning for Augusta’s first Color Run.
Released in groups of a couple hundred at a time, participants wound through downtown to dance music and DJs. Volunteers threw colored cornstarch at them as they reached each kilometer, with each “zone” represented by a different color.
About a half-hour later, the first runner, smeared in orange and blue, ran through the finish line and into the courtyard at the Old Richmond Academy. Carl Whitehead accepted congratulations extended over the loudspeaker, along with a cold bottle of water.
While he was the first to cross the finish line, there were no winners or losers as the race wasn’t timed.
“It was tough,” said the Academy of Richmond County senior. “I usually do cross country with school. It was a little easier than that.”
Billed the Happiest 5K on the Planet, the race ended with a festival and dance party. Every 15 minutes, the air over the dance area erupted in a rainbow of colors, as the DJ directed participants to throw more color.
Anna Stamper’s white tank-top, black athletic shorts and blond hair were covered in orange and pink. Though the “paint” is dry, it sticks to you because you are sweating, she said.
She runs as many local races as possible and occasionally travels for half-marathons, but Stamper said the Color Run isn’t for serious runners.
“They walk and dance and play,” she said.
The Color Run was the first 5K that Meg Borquez and Suzanne Schuman have run. They trained for it for a couple of months.
“We just wanted to run. We didn’t want to walk it,” Schuman said.
They plan to run more 5Ks now that they accomplished their goal, they said.
Peter Shaw said running through downtown Augusta gave him the opportunity to see it a little differently.
“It’s a neat thing to see everybody out and having fun,” he said.