LAKEWOOD RANCH -- It's not whether you win or lose but in this case, it's how you get doused with a rainbow of colors in the name of charity.
Color Vibe, a vibrantly colorful national 5K fun run series, is making its debut April 19 at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch.
Fast gaining popularity throughout the United States, Color Vibe and other unique fitness companies like it are riding the wave of athleticism based on family fun and socialization, rather than hard-core competitive racing. Even the Grammy-nominated alternative rock band Imagine Dragons managed to slip it into their color-blasted performance before a world of television viewers in January.
Throughout the course, participants of all ages, wearing white shirts, headgear, and in some cases, costumes, are encouraged to run, walk or even dance their way through color stations set up around the perimeter of the sports campus, where they'll be blasted with non-toxic, cornstarch-based colored powder, turning them into walking, tie-dyed canvasses of art.
Officials at the Premier Sports Campus, owned by Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc., developers of Lakewood Ranch, are anticipating up to 5,000 participants for the Color Vibe 5K run, which sports director Antonio Saviano predicts will be double the size next year. Despite the large crowd, Saviano says the campus has the flexibility to accommodate everyone.
"Everything is coming together nicely. Because of the magnitude of our facility, the runners won't have any problems, and traffic and parking are in place," Saviano said.
None of the blasted paint will be a detriment because the colored corn starch will eventually turn to dust and disappear, he said.
After the fun run is over, participants are encouraged to stay and enjoy a colorful dance party hosted by Color Vibe, complete with a sound crew and a disc jockey. As Daniel Pete, Utah-based Color Vibe's race director, says, "The Color Vibe 5K is a life experience that can turn people into rainbow junkies."
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, which serves 10 counties including Manatee, is the charity of choice for the inaugural Sarasota Color Vibe 5K this year. A portion of the proceeds will help fund the nonprofit's mentor program that partners children through age 18 with caring adults one hour a week in a community or school-based program. Because there's a large waiting list of children, active recruiting is always ongoing.
Color Vibe's race director calls the choice of Big Brothers Big Sisters a very worthy one.
"We're excited to donate to them so they can continue to mentor kids and be a light in their community," he said.
Gina Taylor, vice president of communications and marketing for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, is enlisting volunteers for the fun run day, as well as reaching out to her large database of supporters so they can register in advance.
"The Lakewood Ranch community and our entire area lend themselves to a healthy lifestyle," Taylor said. "We want athletes and folks of all ages who just want to have fun join us, as well as our bigs and littles, who we love offering fun and different things to do."
The Sarasota Color Vibe 5K run will not be timed so participants can take their time getting colored, and children younger than 7 can run for free. Registration can be completed in advance online at thecolorvibe.com. Those interested in being a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast can contact bbbsun.org.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.