Paint, running collide in event raising $1,000 for military

Posted on: July 25, 2013

Bursts of powdered paint and laughter filled the air as 168 runners dodged obstacles during the Hurdles for Heroes 5K Color Course, College of the Mainland’s first color run. The event raised more than $1,000 for the nonprofit Active Heroes, which supports military members with post-traumatic stress disorder and their families.

Radio station HOT 95.7 provided an upbeat soundtrack as runners jogged through tires, climbed fences and crawled under netting. Jennifer Chacon, a 17-year-old in the COM Collegiate High School, beamed after finishing.

“It was a lot of fun. It was a good opportunity,” she said. “In the future I want to be a nutritionist, so fitness and nutrition are very important to me. I’d do it again.”

For participant Tina Hulsey, running with her daughter, cousin and daughter-in-law, the event was a family affair. They each wore a T-shirt they’d emblazoned with the words “In Honor of Sgt. Bill,” a family member killed fighting in Iraq.

“We did it,” Hulsey said triumphantly after completing the race, her first 5K. “It was worth it.”

Brandon Wiese, who’s completed other 5K runs in the past, ran with a group of friends.  He enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere as he jogged alongside a combination of experienced and new runners.

“It gives a good balance,” he said.

Staff and students from the COM So Psyched Club, which helped organize the event, volunteered to toss different colors of powdered paint as runners passed each obstacle. Though student volunteer Joseph Arredondo didn’t complete the course himself, by the race’s end he sported paint from head to toe.

“It was fun,” he said. “I’d probably run next time.”

The turn-out exceeded organizers’ expectations as runners raced in support of friends, family and military members.

“It really was exciting to see the College of the Mainland staff and students working together for a good cause and to see the community involvement,” said professor Lalanya Ennis, co-organizer of the event with professor Doug Alvarez.

They are already looking ahead to next year’s run.

“We had such a wide range of ages and abilities. 12-year-old Nick DeLapp finished first. He ran like that,” Alvarez said as he snapped his fingers. “I already can’t wait to do it again.”

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