“The Happiest 5k on the Planet” Hits Youngstown

The Color Run doesn’t rank runners by place or time, but encourages all participants to celebrate their happiness and individuality — all while covered in paint. Photo courtesy of Flo-Foto.

Six thousand runners and walkers navigated through clouds of colored powder and gauntlets of bright paint on Saturday at Youngstown’s first The Color Run 5k.

Starting and ending at the Covelli Centre, participants in The Color Run, many dressed in all white, proceeded through the downtown 5k course, during which they were pelted with packets of colored powder and covered with paint.

The run, which is advertised as “the happiest 5k on the planet,” encourages participants to celebrate “happiness, healthiness and individuality,” by turning runners into moving canvasses. The race, which is not timed — awards aren’t given for placement, either — is meant to be an inclusive event where runners can bond in the presence of a shared, unique experience while raising money for deserving causes.

Though not directly tied to any particular charity, The Color Run races often select a local charity partner to benefit from the 5k. Youngstown’s event helped to raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital, with $1 per participant registration going to the hospital.

“I ran The Color Run as part of a bachelorette party, but I would have signed up either way just because the run is such a great event for Youngstown,” said Shelly Marlowe, Co-President of the Boardman-based nonprofit Making Kids Count.

Marlowe, like many, ran in the event for more than just a brightly painted shirt and a day of exercise.

“My family and I run a nonprofit here in the Mahoning Valley called Making Kids Count, and we provide Hope Totes for the kids undergoing chemotherapy there [at Akron Children’s Hospital],” Marlowe said. “So the fact that the race was giving money to Akron Children’s Hospital made it all the more enticing for me.”