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Wichita-area walk/run roundup Many 5K races in the Wichita area will help charities

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 4, 2013, at 10:27 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, July 22, 2013, at 6:53 a.m.

Tell us about your run

Are you hosting a Wichita-area walk or run that isn’t on this list? Please share details about it by emailing Lori O’Toole Buselt at lbuselt@wichitaeagle.com.

Last year saw an explosion of 5K runs for charity in Wichita. The boom continues this year, with more than 40 runs in the area, along with an explosion of color erupting over runners at some of them.

The color is in the form of dyed cornstarch that covers runners – who are advised to wear white – in various hues at various stations along the 5K course. Several for-profit companies put on color runs nationally, drawing thousands of people and giving some of their proceeds to local charities. Two of those national 5Ks – Gnarly Neon and Color Me Rad – will be coming to Wichita this year.

But it was a local charity that put on Wichita’s first color run last year. The Color Splash Run/Walk at Cox Farm was organized to benefit PovSolve, which works to ease global hunger. Its leader, Saajan Bhakta, said that close to 700 people turned out for last year’s run. This year, three other nonprofits also will receive some of the proceeds from the April 6 event: the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; People Loving Wichita, which helps the needy; and the Student Wellness Action Team at Wichita State University, whose members handed out condoms on Valentine’s Day on campus.

The national runs have entrance fees that increase as the events approach. The cost of the Color Me Rad 5K, for example, runs from an early-bird $30 (the deadline already has passed) to $35 by Friday to $45 by April 26 if it isn’t sold out.

The Color Splash Run/Walk costs $20 a person, or $30 if you want a T-shirt, and it also includes a one-mile fun run for families with children and others who don’t want to do a 5K. Bhakta said that the colored cornstarch he uses comes from India — an inspiration for the color runs is the Hindu Holi Festival in that country.

Lauren Coston of Wichita said that she and her boyfriend went to Kansas City with another couple last year to participate in one of the national color runs. Coston said she usually does serious running and wanted to try something different.

“It was a blast,” Coston said. “We looked like a mess when we were done, but in a good way.”

Because the 5K wasn’t timed, “it took a lot of the pressure off. We didn’t care about the run as much as about the fun we were having.” She said that the colored cornstarch was thrown at runners from different levels at stations along the course, and at the end of the run, participants each had a packet of color to throw in the air. She said she was worried about the effects of the cornstarch beforehand but said that it didn’t have any flavor and didn’t get in her eyes.

Jason Brines of the locally based Mobile GameDen said his cousin is the chief executive of the Gnarly Neon, so he decided to help bring the event to Wichita. One thing that sets that 5K apart is the inclusion of music provided by a local DJ and local bands during and after the run, Brines said. The Gnarly Neon 5K, on April 13 downtown, will benefit the Wichita Children’s Home.

“It’s more of a fun run with a good excuse to get out with family and friends in the spring,” Brines said.

The Color Me Rad 5K will be May 4 at Sedgwick County Park and will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities Wichita.

“We’re so excited about it,” said Lauren Werhan of Ronald McDonald House in Wichita. “We already have 2,500 participants signed up.” The charity receives 20 percent of the proceeds from people who enter “RONALD” as a promo code when registering for the race, she said, and it also will receive donations for the volunteers it provides for the event.

Color Me Rad, based near Salt Lake City, had 36 runs last year and has increased that to more than 90 this year, said Gretchen Willard of the company.

“It’s been exciting because as people have done it, other cities have gotten on board,” Willard said. “Some cities actually contact us.”

She said that members of a “color bomb squad” throw a different color every kilometer of the 5K.

“It really gives you something to look forward to” as you run, she said. “We try to make it a celebration.”

She said the attendance usually runs between 5,000 and 10,000.

When asked whether participants ever had bad reactions to the cornstarch, she said that people are given sunglasses for the run, “and our volunteers, they aim for the shirts. If someone has a problem, we haven’t heard too much.”

The color runs mention that participants place towels on seats of cars for the ride home and wear dust masks, activated charcoal filters or bandanas over their faces, if desired. The Color Splash run advises air-tight bags if people must bring their cell phones.

“A good 50 percent of our participants are first-time runners, so it’s been really exciting to see that,” Willard said.

Water trucks clean up the venue afterward, she said.

Getting dyed isn’t the only extracurricular part of Wichita’s slate of walks and runs. Ballet Wichita will be back with its art run, which will end with participants painting a billboard with their feet.

“It was so great,” Barbara Chamberlin of Ballet Wichita said of the inaugural run last year. “I planned on a thousand, but we had 500 (runners), and 90 percent participated in the painting of the billboard. ... People were so jazzed by it. After this year, we’ll change up every year what the art project will be.”

Another increasingly popular run/walk theme involves dogs. There will be two additions in 2013: the YMCA’s Wag and Walk 5K on Saturday at Camp Hyde in Viola to benefit the Y’s Strong Kids program, and a Fido 5K on June 8 at Cessna Park to benefit the city’s dog parks. The events each will include a best-dressed-dog contest and shorter walks among their activities.

Here is a rundown of many of the benefit walks and runs in the Wichita area this year. (Some websites have not yet been updated with this year’s events; check them again closer to the date of the event.)


•  Wag & Walk 5K, Saturday, Camp Hyde, 26201 W. 71st. St. South in Viola, 5K run/walk for people with their dogs, 5K run for people only, plus fun run, to benefit the YMCA’s Strong Kids program. Information: www.ymcawichita.org, 316-264-1610, ext. 5535, jon@wichitaymca.org.

•  Diva Dash, Saturday, The Waterfront at 13th and Webb Road, women-only 5K sponsored by KC Running Co. to benefit Girls on the Run. Information: www.divadash5k.com, 816-529-5860.

•  St. Patrick’s 5K Run/Walk, March 16, Old Cowtown Museum, 5K and fun run featuring bagpipe music to benefit the nonprofit Wichita Caledonian Pipes and Drums Band and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Information: www.wichitastpats5K.com, 316-265-7178.

•  Leprechaun Chase, March 16, Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, a 2-mile fun run/walk/jog/skip to benefit the arboretum. Information: www.dyckarboretum.org, arboretum@hesston.edu, 620-327-8127.

•  Run2Believe, March 23, Maize High School, 5K in memory of Kylie Jobe and Kyle Thornburg to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving and to benefit the Maize Education Foundation, the Oklahoma State University Foundation and USD 266 SADD and after-prom organizations. Information: www.run2believe.org, 316-260-9622, emily.gerstner@ymcawichita.org.

•  Easter Rabbit Run and Bunny Hop, March 24, BG Products Veterans Sports Complex in El Dorado, 5K and children’s sprint and egg hunt to benefit Tri-County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children. Information: www.tri-countycasa.net.

•  Beta Bash, March 30, Wichita State University, 5K run/walk sponsored by Beta Theta Pi fraternity to benefit the Colby Liston Recovery Fund, for the 2012 Derby High School graduate who lost his legs last year in an accident. Information: www.wichitastatebeta.org/beta-bash, 316-841-5467.

Youth Horizons Easter SunRun, March 30, Sedgwick County Park, 10K, 2-mile race, 2-mile memorial walk, barbecue and live music to benefit Youth Horizons, a Wichita organization committed to breaking the cycle of fatherlessness through mentoring and residential programs. Information: EasterSunRun.com, Facebook.com/EasterSunRun or 316-262-8293.


•  Autism CARE Walk, April 6, Old Town Square, sponsored by Heartspring to benefit those affected by autism. Information: www.autismcarewalk.org, 316-634-8862.

•  5K-aiden Run/Walk, April 6, Colt Stadium in Haysville, to benefit 8-year-old Kaiden Schroeder of McPherson who has leukemia. Information: www.facebook.com/5KaidenRace, kaidencrusaders@yahoo.com.

•  Friends University President’s Run, April 6, Friends University, 5K and 1-mile fun run to benefit an endowed scholarship honoring James Arbertha. Information: 316-295-5872 or www.friends.edu/run.

•  March for Babies, April 6, Koch Arena, one-mile walk to benefit March of Dimes. Information: www.marchforbabies.org, 316-267-9255.

•  Color Splash Run/Walk, April 6, Cox Farm, 6059 S. Seneca, 5K or one-mile family fun run with participants getting splashed by color, sponsored by PovSolve to ease global poverty. Information: wichitacolorsplash.eventzilla.net, 316-393-0491, povsolve@gmail.com.

•  Gnarly Neon 5K, April 13, at Douglas and Waco in front of Century II, 5K run with music from a local DJ and two bands and showers of neon colors, put on by Mobile GameDen to benefit the Wichita Children’s Home. Information: gnarlyneon5k.com, 855-426-3336.

•  Sicily’s Run, April 13, Knights of Columbus Building, 201 E. Harvey, Wellington, 5K run and half-mile walk/fun run in memory of Sicily Zeka to benefit a scholarship for a Wellington High School senior interested in pursuing medicine. Information: www.sicilysrun.com, 620-960-1153, sicilysrun@hotmail.com.

•  Link 4 Life Run to Prevent Suicide, April 13, Old Cowtown Museum, 5K and shorter races and a walk to benefit the Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Information: www.sedgwickcounty.org, bbaalman@sedgwick.gov, 316-660-7652.

•  Walk to Cure Diabetes, April 20, Exploration Place, to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Information: www.walk.jdrf.org or call 316-213-2732.

•  AIDS Walk, April 20, Positive Directions, 414 S. Commerce, to benefit those affected by HIV/AIDS. Information: www.pdiks.com, 316-263-2214, Ext. 109.

•  Dog-N-Jog, April 20, Sedgwick County Park, 5K and 1 1/2-mile run/walk with or without dogs sponsored by Indian Hills Animal Clinic to benefit the Kansas Humane Society. Information: www.dognjogwichita.com, 316-722-6444.

•  Fight for Air Climb, April 20, Cessna Stadium, stair climb and 5K run/walk to benefit the American Lung Association. Information: www.fightforairclimb.org 316-558-3090, Ext. 202.

•  Walk Against Gang Violence, April 20, McAdams Park, 1329 E. 13th St., free 2-mile walk organized by Safe Streets Wichita. Information: 316-263-1389, erika@partnersforwichita.org.

•  Walk MS, April 27, Sedgwick County Park, to benefit the Mid America Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Information: walkksg.nationalmssociety.org, 316-854-0775.

•  Circle Foundation 5K/Fun Walk, April 27, Benton city building, to buy anti-bullying materials. Information: 316-541-2577, aclevenger@usd375.org.


•  Greater Wichita Heart Walk and 5K Run, May 1, Century II, 1-mile or 5K walk or run to benefit the American Heart Association. Information: www.wichitaheartwalk.org, 316-265-4238.

•  Sharon K. Bird Memorial Walk/Run, May 4, Island Park in Winfield, 5K and 1-mile walk to benefit Creative Community Living, which supports adults with developmental disabilities in Cowley and Butler counties. Information: www.cclccl.org, 620-221-9431 or jsandbulte@cclccl.org.

•  Color Me Rad 5K, May 4, Sedgwick County Park, 5K with “color bombing,” to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities Wichita. Information: www.rmhcwichita.org, 316-269-4182.

•  Rainbows Run/Walk, May 4, El Dorado Civic Center, 5K and 1-mile family fun walk to benefit children with special needs in Butler County through Rainbows United. Information: www.rainbowsrunwalk.kintera.org/2013, 316-267-5437.

•  Step Up for KIDS, May 4, Cessna Stadium, 5K and memory walk to benefit bereavement care and safe-sleep education through the Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network of Kansas. Information: www.kidsks.org, 316-682-1301.

•  Great Strides Walk, May 4, Old Cowtown Museum, to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Information: www.cff.org.

•  Girls on the Run of Sedgwick County, May 11, Wichita Boathouse, 5K run/walk open only to women to benefit Girls on the Run programs of health and wellness for girls. Information: www.girlsontherunks.org, 316-461-4516, christy.thomas@girlsontherun.org.

•  East Meets West Walk/Run, May 18, Exploration Place, kids run, 2K walk, 5K run and survivors stroll to benefit Victory in the Valley and people who have cancer and their families. Information: www.victoryinthevalley.com, 316-682-7400.

•  Arthritis Walk, May 18, Old Cowtown Museum, 5K walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Information: www.awwichita.org, 316-263-0116.

•  Good Grief of Kansas Memorial Walk, May 18, RiverWalk Church of Christ, 225 N. Waco, to benefit support groups for the bereaved and for survivors of suicide. Information: www.goodgriefofkansas.org, info@goodgriefofkansas.org, 316-612-0700.

•  Get Your Rear in Gear 5K, May 26, First and Mosley, evening 5K and 1-mile fun run to benefit the Colon Cancer Coalition. Information: getyourrearingear.com, 316-773-5644, sorochty@sbcglobal.net.


•  Wichita Gladiator Dash, June 8, Sedgwick County Park, 5K run through obstacle course to benefit the Child Advocacy Center and Newman University Athletics. Information: www.wichitagladiatordash.com, 316-942-4291, ext. 2118.

•  Run for Their Lives, June 8, Andover Central Park in Andover, to benefit troubled teens through House of Hope Wichita. Information: houseofhopewichita.org, 316-737-4673, kim@houseofhopewichita.org.

•  Fido 5K, June 8, Cessna Park, 5Ks with and without dogs, half-mile run/walk for people and pets and half-mile puppy parade to benefit the city of Wichita’s dog parks. Information: www.fido5k.com.

•  Kindness Moves Me 5K Run/Walk, June 15, 1010 N. Main, 5K to benefit Episcopal Social Services-Venture House and Breakthrough Club. Information: 316-269-4160, ext. 105.

•  Ballet Wichita 5K Art Run, June 22, Douglas Avenue in front of Century II, to benefit Ballet Wichita. Information: balletwichita.com, 316-687-5880.

•  Head for the Cure 5K, June 23, Sedgwick County Park, to benefit brain tumor clinical trials at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Information: www.headforthecure.org, lauren@headforthecure.org, 816-218-6872.

•  Party for Parkinson’s, June 29, Catholic Life Center at 45th North and Woodlawn, 5K run and 1-mile party walk sponsored by the Catholic Care Center to benefit the National Parkinson Foundation. Information: gorunyourrace.com, 316-771-6593, Jennifer.Sanders@viachristi.org.


•  Relay for Life, July 12, Wichita Collegiate track and other area venues, to benefit the American Cancer Society. Information: www.relayforlife.org.

•  Titan 10K and One Mile Quick Run/Walk, July 13, Wichita South High School Carpenter Stadium parking lot. The 10K will benefit the school’s athletic department and cross-country team, and the run/walk will honor longtime South High teacher Jim Quick, who is battling cancer. Information: titan-run.com, 316-841-8363.

•  IIDA Wichita’s Superhero 5K, July 13, Sedgwick County Park, 5K with superhero or villain costumes optional and squirt guns for water fights to keep cool, sponsored by the International Interior Design Association to benefit Rainbows United. Information: www.facebook.com/IIDAWichitaSuperhero5k, cshaffer@glmv.com.

•  Zombie Apocalypse – An Infested 5K Obstacle Race, July 13, Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard, to benefit the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Information: www.wichitazombierun.com, 316-265-2000.

•  Chisholm Trail Charge, July 27, McLean Park at 6801 N. Hydraulic in Park City, 5K/10K/1-mile fun run to benefit the Park City Pride Food Pantry. Information: , 316-619-7800.


Glow Run 5K, Aug. 3, Wichita Ice Center, to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program. Information: www.glowrun5k.com/wichita.

•  Christ’s Feet 5K, Aug. 24, Sedgwick County Park, sponsored by Aldersgate United Methodist Church to benefit the Kansas Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids Program. Information: www.aldersgatechurch.org/5krun, 316-210-0404, cvschmitz@gmail.com.


•  Kidzcope (formerly Three Trees) Good Grief 5K Run, Sept. 1, Old Town Square at First and Mosley, 5K and 1-mile run/walk, to benefit grieving children and their families. Information: kidzcope5k.org, 316-263-3335.

•  Race for Freedom, Sept. 7, Carpenter Place, 1501 N. Meridian, 5K and half-mile fun run sponsored by ICT S.O.S. to benefit the Child Advocacy Center and minors rescued from human trafficking and sexual assault situations in Wichita. Information: www.race4freedom.com, 316-253-3126, liz@race4freedom.com.

•  Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Sept. 14, downtown at the Waterwalk, 1-mile walk to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Kansas. Information: www.alz.org/walk, 316-267-7333.

•  Walk for Lupus Now, Sept. 14, Sedgwick County Park, to benefit the Kansas Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America. Information: www.kansaslupus.org.

Johnston’s Half Marathon, Sept. 15, Riverside, half marathon and 5K race to benefit Wichita non-profit organizations through the Johnstons Charitable Foundation. Information: johnstonshalfmarathon.com.

•  Walk to Defeat ALS, Sept. 21, Waterfront Parkway off 13th and Webb Road, to benefit the ALS Association. Information: www.alsa.org, 316-612-0188.

•  Race for the Cure, Sept. 28, Towne East Square parking lot, to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure Mid-Kansas. Information: www.komenmidks.org, 316-440-7033.


•  Woofstock, Oct. 5, Sedgwick County Park, 1 1/2-mile walk with dogs to benefit the Kansas Humane Society. Information: www.kshumane.org, 316-220-8707.

•  Wichita CROP Hunger Walk, Oct. 6, Sedgwick County Park, to help the hungry locally and internationally. Information: www.cropwalkwichita.org, 316-744-1929.

•  Fourth Annual Walk for Thought, Oct. 12, Towne East Square (indoors or outdoors depending on the weather), to benefit of the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City. Information: www.biaks.org, 913-754-8883, kkershaw@biaks.org.

•  Light the Night Walk, Oct. 19, Exploration Place, to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Information: www.lightthenight.org/ks, 316-266-4050.

•  Winfield Food Pantry Walk/Run, Oct. 19, Island Park in Winfield, 5K and 1-mile run/walk to benefit the Winfield Food Pantry. Information: 620-221-9320, winfieldfoodpantrywalkrun@yahoo.com.

•  Wichita Hydrocephalus Association Walk, Oct. 19, Sedgwick County Park, to benefit hydrocephalus research and education. Information: www.hydroassoc.org, 316-312-9289.


•  Turkey Trot, Nov. 23, Museums on the River, 10-mile race and 2-mile run/walk to benefit the Kansas Food Bank. Information: kevins@gorunwichita.com.

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com.

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