Largest running series in the world returns to Salem


Photos by Shawn Nowlin

Largest running series in the world returns to Salem
Participants push through fatigue to reach the finish line.


The Color Run Dream Tour 2017 was held at the Salem Civic Center on Saturday, April 22.

More than 1,000 people of all ages and fitness levels showed up to partake in the five-kilometer untimed event. Team runners of four of more paid $39.99 each while individual runners paid $44.99. Kids five and younger were able to participate for $14.99.  Despite heavy rain at times, that didn’t stop people from having a good time.

“I would have loved for the weather to be nicer, but all in all this was a great event,” Ryan Draper said. “It was just awesome to see so many smiling faces out here today.” Jacob Woolridge told his wife Samira that no matter how hard it rained on Saturday, they were going to participate in The Color Run. “We came all the way from Rhode Island so we weren’t going to let a little rain get in the way of us experiencing this incredible event,” he said.

Founded in 2011, the mission of The Color Run is to bring people together and make the world a happier, healthier place. While running up Roanoke Boulevard, participants received words of encouragement from friends and family members.

Nine-year-old Shay Frazier held up a sign that read, “Proud of you Mommy.” The sign that seventh-grader Bryce Jackson created was purple and personal. “My dad had surgery two years ago and couldn’t walk for several weeks,” said Bryce. “It means the world to him to be able to race with his friends today.”

Marcus Marshall brought his two sons, a five-year-old who wants to be an Olympic Sprinter and a six-year-old who wants to be a football player, to this year’s Color Run. “Normally this is the time of the year when a bunch of charity races take place,” he said. “Next week my boys and I will be participating in the Boots2Books 5K and then the Appalachian Power Festival Run after that.”

Everyone is a winner when it comes to The Color Run. Standing at the finish line with hundreds of other soaked runners, Ben Watson let out a big yell.  “I did it. I finally did it,” he said. “Everyone out here today should be really proud of themselves.”

Over six million runners from over 35 countries have experienced The Color Run, also known as “The Happiest 5K On The Planet.” To date, more than $5 million has been raised for charity. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit Blue Ridge Autism & Achievement Center.

“The Salem community has embraced the Color Run for the past three years. Not only are people getting outside and doing something good for their health, but they are having fun and raising money for a great charity,” Wendy Delano, James E. Taliaferro Sports & Entertainment Complex Interim Director, said “You couldn’t ask for better people to work with, than those at the Color Run and we are looking forward to seeing them again in 2018!”

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