BOULDER – Runners took to the streets of Boulder on Sunday for the annual Mariah’s Challenge Color Fun Run.
They ran either a mile or a 5K from Jefferson High School to the edge of town and back, while volunteers along the route covered them in brightly colored powder.
“It’s just cornstarch and color, and it washes out,” said Kylie Marks, a Jefferson High junior.
The weather was cool and windy, but organizers said that wouldn’t stop them.
“We’ve had good turnouts every year,” said Andrea Dolezal, a board member for Mariah’s Challenge at JHS. “We had snow one year, and we still had a bunch of people.”
The run is for fun, but it also conveys a serious message. Mariah’s Challenge is named after Mariah McCarthy, a 14-year-old girl from Butte who was killed in 2007 by an underage driver who had been drinking. Her family created a foundation to encourage young people to stay away from alcohol and drugs.
“That there’s other options out there, that there’s other things to do, that you can still have fun and not drink,” Dolezal said.
The Boulder color run was started three years ago, as a way to raise money for the JHS Mariah’s Challenge scholarship fund.
“We figured something healthy, something fun, something families can do,” said Dolezal.
The scholarship is available to the members of the school’s Mariah’s Challenge club. Students who join must take a pledge that they will remain alcohol- and drug-free throughout high school, and that they will not ride in a vehicle with someone under the influence.
“We really learn about the consequences about that,” said Tempe Solomon, a JHS sophomore. “We’re trying to promote how it’s not really cool to be drinking and driving.”
Club members also work to educate their fellow students about the dangers of drinking and driving. They hope events like the color run will help them get their message out.
“We just try to get as many people as we can, so hopefully we can tell them exactly what it’s all about,” said Solomon.
Organizers said they’re thankful for everyone who took part in the run.
“We appreciate the support,” said Dolezal.
“It’s cool seeing all the different people come out to come and support us,” Solomon said.
The Mariah’s Challenge scholarship currently offers about $250 for each year a JHS student takes part in the Mariah’s Challenge club. Organizers hope, if the color run grows in the coming years, they will be able to increase the scholarship.
You can find more information about Mariah’s Challenge at mariahschallenge.com.