By NIKHIL GRANDHI, junior
Flashes of intense color — bright pink, orange, and green — stained the ground and streaked the course of the Color Me Rad 5-kilometer run at the PNC Bank Arts Center on May 19. The annual color run aimed to support the Jersey Strong Foundation, a public charity with a mission to rebuild, restore, and maintain the Jersey Shore, especially after the devastating Hurricane Sandy.
More than 9000 people participated in the polychromatic experience that left their once white t-shirts looking like tie-dyed art. In the Color Me Rad run, participants trekked through a track winding through pavements, parking lots, and woods, while volunteers lined the course at color bomb stations to shower the runners with colored, non-toxic corn starch. While some runners concentrated on strictly completing the course, others mapped out strategies to get the most diverse coating of colors on their t-shirts.
Numerous students from JP Stevens also participated in this run to have a “rad” time. After intense weeks of AP testing, many saw the run as a perfect opportunity to have fun. Junior Sruthi Nanduri recounts, “Color Me Rad was a great event where JP students came together and ended together, just like a family.” In addition to running the course, many JP students volunteered to make the event a success. By selling color bombs, bombarding runners with colored dye, and spraying them with colored water, the volunteers not only helped the charity’s cause but also had an enjoyable time. Volunteers chipped in to clean and reorganize the area after the end of the race as well. This unique experience was, in the opinion of many participants, one of the best volunteering experiences they have ever had. Junior Sudeepti Vedula noted, “Unlike my previous experiences of volunteering, I had a lot of fun at the color run because it was extremely satisfying to spray friends and strangers alike with color.”
The day ended with a celebration to commemorate the success. Air cannons shot T-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, and color bombs into the crowd, and fire extinguishers sprayed clouds of colored fog, enveloping the crowd in a mist of color, all while music pulsed through the arena. Even the constant stream of rain did not prevent the racers from having an unforgettable time, for the event ultimately culminated in a colorful experience filled with vibrant affirmations of the rad spirit of the run.
From babies in strollers to senior citizens, everyone from surrounding communities was brought together to help support the rebuilding cause. By focusing on fitness and fun, this marathon stripped off any trace of competition and rather supported the communal goal of making a mess and having a blast. At the end, as the runners from JP examined their colorful shirts and faces, they couldn’t help but feel like they were little kids. By participating in and helping out at the annual Color Me Rad run, JP students worked together to make a difference, helping prove that the people of New Jersey truly are “Jersey Strong.”