Hundreds participate in youth services color run

lpemberton@theolympian.comSeptember 15, 2013 

Knee socks, sunglasses, tutus and other fun gear were donned Saturday morning in the name of charity in the Community Youth Services’ Brighter Futures Run.

More than 550 people registered for the color-run-style event, said Lynsi Polanco, director of development for the Olympia-based child welfare agency.

“These fun runs are kind of all the rage,” she said. “We wanted to reach out to families and do something families could do together and promote wellness.”

The 5K course went near the Port of Olympia along Marine View Drive Northeast. Volunteers tossed a powdery mixture of corn starch and tempera paint at runners and walkers as they passed through six different color stations along the route.

“The Seahawks are going for the loudest stadium, and we’re going to go for the loudest green tutus,” joked Bill Clark, 36, of Shelton, who ran with a team from Lucky Eagle Casino.

“We’re going for the most color,” added teammate Rodney Youckton, 58, of Olympia.

Community Youth Services offers almost 20 programs that help at-risk youth, Polanco said. Those include a street outreach program, juvenile diversion, a foster care assessment program and other services.

“When we do events like this, it allows us to fill the gaps (for projects) that federal dollars can’t be spent on,” Polanco said.

More than 200 volunteers helped staff the run, and organizers hope it will become an annual event, she added.

Addie Gram, 38, of Olympia, stood along the route and offered cheers and high-fives to all of the participants.

She said she was there to support a friend who had trained for the race all summer.

“It is awesome,” she said. “I do a lot of running myself. It’s just great to have people cheering along the line instead of just at the front.”

Asia Veal, 31, of Lacey, ran the course with her 6-year-old son, Jaiden, while pushing her 3-year-old daughter Elizabeth in a stroller.

And as they neared the finish line, Elizabeth decided to run through the color station on her own. It was a proud day for mom.

“It was our first event together as a family,” Veal said after the run.

One of the largest teams was made up of 42 players from Olympia High School’s girls soccer team.

Coach Tessa Effland said the team signed up to help support programs that benefit South Sound youth.

“This year, we’re really focusing on trying to give back to the community,” Effland said.

The soccer team stayed together the entire run, and filled it with songs, cheers and dances.

“It was so fun just to be crazy and be a kid,” said soccer player Mackenzie Cooper, 16, of Olympia.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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