2013-08-24 at 11:22
A runner coats herself in pink dye near the finish line Saturday at the Run or Dye event.
Participants run the orange-dye gauntlet at Boulevard Lake Saturday during the country's first Run or Dye event.
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Some ran, some walked, but everyone left a little more colourful than when they began the day.
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More than 2,300 people raced around Boulevard Lake on Saturday at the first annual Run and Dye event, coating themselves with colour before the five-kilometre race began, then finding themselves caked in fluorescent pink, blue, yellow orange and greens as they braved their way through the colouring stations that lined the race-way.
Kaleigh Wiltsey said she had no idea what to expect. Afterward, she said she wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.
It was that much fun, she said.
“We got to the dying stations and they don’t hold back at all,” the self-described hippie-at-heart Wiltsey said, her face and clothing coated in the dye, a mixture of environmentally friendly corn starch and colouring.
“They hit you with everything they’ve got. We got it in the face a few times. I’m glad. It was fun.”
Though most of her crew hit the snooze alarm and missed the event, her friend Jared Oksanen, his beard a tangy lemon yellow, his face exploding in every colour of the rainbow, was up early and none the worse for the wear after his run.
“I just came to support the Children’s (Centre Foundation) and have a good time and be active,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect until we saw the huge crowd and knew it was going to be a good time. There were lots of colours,” he said.
Lily Biggs-Farrell said she wanted to jump in Boulevard Lake after all was said and done, but decided to savour the dye-covered moment a little longer.
“I didn’t think we were going to get splashed with colours here and there. But it was fun. I got some in my mouth though,” she said.
Rachel Butler said it was an awesome time.
“My goal was to run the whole thing and I did that without stopping, so I felt good,” she said.
Based on India’s ancient Holy Festival, assistant race director Kathryn Handford, said the race, the first-of-its-kind in Canada, said it was all about fitness, friendship and fun.
“People from 300 BC would colour themselves with dye and celebrate wellness,” said Handford, whose next stops include visits to Ottawa, Niagara Falls and Halifax.
“As you can see today it’s very colourful. People are having fun, they’re out in droves in Thunder Bay and everybody is enjoying the celebrations and each other. And it’s a way for them to go out and do a 5K run as well,” she said.
The event raised about $5,000 for the Children’s Centre Foundation.
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