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Color run kicks off UW campaign

An explosion of color engulfed nearly 400 runners at the start of the third annual True Color Run in downtown Vicksburg Saturday, which marked the official start of the United Way of West Central Mississippi’s annual campaign.

Runners of all ages congregated in the parking lot of BankcorpSouth for the two and a half mile run featuring five color stations and a block party to celebrate the event.

“It was awesome,” Ryan Williams who participated in the run said. “My five-year-old little boy Hunter enjoyed it, we brought the little puppy out here, a great event for Vicksburg. It was awesome. It was colorful. I think it was a good turn out for the town.”

Participants were each given a white t-shirt with the words Live United across the front as part of their swag bags and were doused with a variety of colors representing the causes the United Way works with. Green was for mental awareness, purple was for domestic violence awareness, pink represented breast cancer awareness and red was for the Salvation Army and HIV awareness.

“It has been a fabulous morning,” Michelle Connelly, the executive director of the United Way, said. “We have hundreds of volunteers, which we greatly appreciate, wonderful businesses who are out here sponsoring, our agencies are here with their volunteers. I would say it is easy that there are a thousand people out here gathering and Living United this morning.”

There were no timekeepers for the run and no awards for first place were given, but running for a cause and the showers of colored cornstarch provided plenty of excitement for even the serious runners.

“I am 44 years old and I was a little guarded. I wasn’t 100 percent certain I was going to enjoy that, but I was kind of like I am going to give it a shot and enjoy this run,” Craig Danczyk said. “It was good. You see so many people have such a good time. The people that aren’t hardcore runners really look forward to this event and rightfully so. It was a lot of fun.”

Following the race, there was a block party featuring periodic color blasts and a chance for participants and bystanders to interact with the United Way’s partner agencies. There was also a one-mile fun run for children. 

“To me what is really cool is there are personal triumphs that happen here,” Connelly said. “There are people that are not runners and are not walkers that want to be a part of this. To see their faces light up when they cross the finish line because they accomplished something that makes them feel good and also gives back to the community, you just can’t beat that.”

By the end of the morning, the once stark white shirts were colored in a myriad of colors as participants dumped color packets on each other and gathered for the color blasts. 

“This was my first color run and I thought it was a great day for it, lots of participation and the United Way does so much for the community and the nation and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Danczyk said.