By Maddison Cervantes
Reno locals saved the date for the annual Color Me Rad 5k run. From groups of teenagers to families with toddlers, each previously created team assembled on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 20, at the University of Nevada, Reno to show their true colors in an act of charity.
Color Me Rad is a nationwide event that makes its way around the world, and the country with an objective of raising funds for different causes at each stop.
The combination of charity and a powder-like paint made for an experience worth waking up early for, according to 16-year-old Mitchell Tover.
“My family loves Color Me Rad, so we did the Early Bird Registration all the way back in May,” Tover said.
The first year his family took part in the race, Tover volunteered at the event instead of running. After exploring the painted side of things, Tover stated that he will continue as a runner in years to come.
This year, as every year is different, the Color Me Rad organization partnered with Special Olympics Nevada for the event’s charity focus.
Steve Cabrales, the director and law enforcement torch run manager of Special Olympics Nevada, flew from their main office in Las Vegas to attend the event.
Cabrales stated that once the registration fees for the event are processed, the Special Olympics association receives 25 percent of them, along with other donations.
“We’ve done it the last two years, and usually have an overall profit of around $12,000 to $14,000,” Cabrales said.
Cabrales wants to make it apparent that this event’s success was a direct result of their volunteers.
“Each one of them puts forward so much effort that without them, the event would not have happened,” Cabrales said.
Volunteers provide water and a seemingly unlimited amount of paint to the participants; set up each required vendor; assist in hosting and cleaning up the event and keep a smile on their face start to finish.
Annaliese Gomez, a high school volunteer, was provided with a hose that shot blue paint at people making their way through one of the arches scattered around the route.
“I’ve volunteered for three years but so far, squirting people with paint has been my favorite job,” Gomez said. “Everyone is so enthusiastic when they get this stuff on them.”
Gomez stated that she has sprayed paint on teams of fairies, Disney characters and teenage boys wearing tutus, all in one morning.
“Going all-out is part of the fun,” Gomez said.
Once the run was completed, the participants made their way up to the blue parking lot, behind the university’s Mackay Stadium. Running through a pink arch representing the finish line with paint being continuously hurled all around them, the runners began a celebration.
Food vendors, backdrops for pictures and a stage where t-shirts and other free prizes were flung from encompassed the final destination for the runners.
When the words “breast cancer” were heard through the microphone, five women began jumping and cheering louder than the rest, until they were called onto the stage.
Once onstage and provided with a fire extinguisher, Angela Lewis, a breast cancer survivor, doused the audience in a cloud of pink paint as their voices grew louder.
Angela Lewis’ “Fearless Friends,” (their team name) as well as her daughter, Haley Lewis, came together on Saturday morning to run for all causes, including hers.
This past April, Lewis was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then, she has endured a double mastectomy and finished her chemotherapy treatment less than six days before participating in Color Me Rad.
“We’re here for the cause, and we are going to do it again next year,” Lewis said.