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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Five kilometers of color

Color Me Rad 5K comes to Buffalo for the first time

Students lined up to have their bodies painted with brightly colored cornstarch. With bright pink war paint under their eyes and battle lines down their arms, these students are ready to bombard the students walking through the Student Union.

These colorful students are passing out flyers advertising for Color Me Rad, the 5K run taking place at Darien Lake Amusement Park on June 22. So far, 4,200 students are signed up, according to Collin Miller, a freshman digital media study major and marketing coordinator for the run. They hope to fill all 5,000 spots by the day of the event. All proceeds from the race will go to Special Olympics New York.

This is the first year the "slew of color mayhem" is taking place in Buffalo, Miller said. The run has taken place 50 times and has passed through other major cities including Rochester, Syracuse and New York City. Miller believes there is a large running-for-charity culture here in Buffalo, which is why Color Me Rad will be so successful, he said.

Unlike some other 5K runs, this one requires a uniform - all white.

"You'll start off with a shirt as pure white as your grandpa's dentures and you'll soak up enough color while running to change your skin tone forever," according to Color Me Rad's website. "You'll wind up looking like a pack of Skittles. Just remember not to 'taste the rainbow.'"

Participants start off the race clean, but each kilometer is a different "color zone" in which runners are hit with "color bombs" of a specific color of dyed cornstarch to mark their progress, according to Miller.

Keeley Duffney, a freshman biology major, has been waiting to be a part of this race for a year. She watched her older brother get covered in paint at a Color Me Rad 5K in her hometown of Albany and she has wanted to get in on the action ever since.

"I remember seeing pictures and I went to watch him do it and he said, 'It's the most fun thing he's ever done.' So, I'm trying to promote this one for Buffalo," Duffney said.

Even though she does not consider herself a runner, Duffney is excited to contribute to the event and has even enlisted the rest of her sorority to run with her in the race as a team. It has been hard getting people to travel back to Buffalo over the summer, but it will be worth it when they have a great time at the race, she said.

Duffney has never run a 5K before but said she isn't worried because, "It's actually fun and a lot of people who aren't athletic could actually do it; it's more relaxed and laidback."

Participants don't have to actually run through Darien Lake; they are able to move at whatever pace they feel most comfortable, Miller said. He guarantees it will be the "most fun race you've ever participated in."

Jessica Glauber, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, couldn't wait to register. She stopped in the Student Union to sign up for the 5K and dragged her friend, Kaylee Abato, a freshman occupational therapy major, along with her.

Glauber had heard of the race before and always wanted to be a part of the color mayhem, but she never had the time. This year she made sure she was able to participate.

Abato agreed to sign up because she had never run a 5K before, but if she was going to start, she might as well start with one that's made to be fun.

"[Glauber] asked if I could do it so I just said, 'Why not?'" Abato said.

The two Buffalo natives plan on convincing more friends to come together and form a team for the event.

Miller has been working with Color Me Rad and multiple schools in Western New York to get as many students as possible involved with the movement and build a communal feeling among students throughout the city.

If there is anyone who wants to be a part of the fun but doesn't want to be in the race, they can become part of the Color Bomb Squad - like Duffney did her first year. Bomb Squad volunteers receive a free T-shirt and get the opportunity to shower the participants with color bombs and ensure everybody is soaked with tie-dye.

To register, students can go to and pay $40, but the price will rise as it gets closer to the event, and be a part of the first annual "slew of color mayhem" in Buffalo.




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