MYRTLE BEACH — In some races volunteers often stand at various locations along the race course waiting to help the runners.
Recently, however, instead of offering parched runners a drink of water, volunteers at some fun run events are poised with containers of colored powder ready to cover those who run by.
In what seems to be a growing trend in the Myrtle Beach area, people who typically don’t participate in 5K races are signing up for these “fun” runs, such as a two events planned for the area later this month and in November.
“About 70 percent of [Color Run] runners have never done a 5K before,” said Alec Fowler with The Color Run.
The Myrtle Beach City Council approved special event permits for The Color Run – as well as a nighttime Go-GlowMania 5K – at last week’s meeting.
On July 7, about 2,000 runners participated in the Neon Vibe 5K, where volunteers threw colored powder on participants dressed in white to glow under black lights set up around Myrtle Beach Speedway.
“There was a really good crowd,” said Hope Epton, who participated in the Neon Vibe event. “It seemed that people that wouldn’t normally be out were out there. … It’s not competitive. It’s all about getting people out there and having fun.”
Epton, who is a certified health fitness specialist and member of the Grand Strand Running Club, said she likes to try different running experiences, participating in numerous mud runs and obstacle runs.
“It was fun,” she said of Neon Vibe. “The color and black lights. And they had an after party. They tired to make it a fun night out.”
Neon Vibe is headquartered in Utah – as is The Color Run – and Neon Vibe race director Micah Black said the organization chose to come to Myrtle Beach because when he was in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina he would visit frequently for different events.
“Myrtle Beach is a fun town and we want to bring something new and exciting to the city,” he said in May. “Our mission is to help our society get healthy through fun 5K events and have as much fun as we can.”
Fowler said the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce contacted The Color Run and suggested the organization bring its event to town.
“We’re the original Color Run,” he told the City Council July 9.
What is it like for runners to have colored powder thrown at them during a 5K?
“I didn’t really care for it,” Epton said. “You’re running through the powder and you’re trying to breathe. A lot of people seemed to like it, though. … But they probably wouldn’t like a mud run. I’ll crawl through mud puddles under barbed wire. I like that.”
Participants in the Go-GlowMania 5K, scheduled for Aug. 31, will have a bit of a different experience. Participants will apply glow face paint to themselves in the parking lot – over tarps – before the race begins. Runners will also have glow sticks and neon shirts during the race.
While Go-GlowMania will be timed – the other races are not – all three stress the importance of having fun while being fit.
“We’re growing healthy living and getting active all while having a good time,” Fowler with The Color Run said.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.