Fundraiser run hits spectrum of fun

Photos by Rachel Mummey/The Herald
About 400 runners threw a dyed powder into the air at the beginning of the Jasper High School Society of Fine Arts’ color run at Jasper Middle School on Saturday morning. In a color run, the participants get covered with colored powder — tempera paint powder mixed with cornstarch — as they run the course. The money raised will help fund a trip to New York for the art club.

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — Runners held their breath as they approached the finish line of a unique 5K fun run Saturday morning. The unusual technique was necessary as they were blasted by purple, orange, red and blue powder thrown at their white shirts.

The Jasper High School Society of Fine Arts held a color run to raise money for art trips. Seventeen students will head to New York this summer and the society will pay for a smaller art trip next school year for all 76 members.

“We wanted to do something different than just selling stuff,” said Josh Dodd, painting and drawing teacher at JHS and faculty sponsor for the society. “Color runs are really starting to take off in bigger cities, so I thought, ”˜Why not do one here?’ I’m pretty sure this is the first color run in the county.”

The 404 participants wore white and braved the chilly morning and muddy grounds at Jasper Middle School to collect as much color on their shirts as possible.

“We’ve had an amazing response,” Dodd said. “There’s probably three times the people we were expecting.”

Jasper High School girls soccer coach Anthony Price of Jasper got doused with a handful of orange powder as he crossed the finish line of the color run at Jasper Middle School on Saturday.

Dodd said about 260 people preregistered for the event, paying $20 each. About 140 more showed up the morning of the race after hearing about it and paid $25 each to participate.

“It’s just about having a fun time,” Dodd said. “There’s no timer or awards. The idea is to collect as much color on you as you can.”

Tempera paint powder mixed with cornstarch made up the 120 pounds of colored powder. All participants threw a handful of the powder into the air at the same time at the start of the race, cheering and building energy that would carry them through the course.

Society members stationed at eight places along the route threw handfuls of the powder at participants as they passed. The students found themselves getting just as colored as the runners, if not more.

“It all came back in the wind and got everywhere,” sophomore Catherine Bell of Jasper, 16, said. “I ate a lot more than I threw, I think.”

Dodd made sure the powder was nontoxic and environmentally safe.

Bell said runners, many outfitted with goggles or sunglasses to protect their eyes from the powder, were cheerful and genuinely enjoying themselves.

“We cheered them on and they were so happy to see us and get powder,” she said. “That was the best part.”

Matt Dills ran with his wife, Emily, and friends Luke and Meghan Buchta, all of Jasper. Matt Dills noted that a large number of children and teenagers participated in the run.

“Something like this is good for all ages,” he said as he recovered from the run, his shirt coated with orange and purple powder. “You normally wouldn’t see this many young people at a regular 5K. It’s nice to have something unique.”

Teachers also came out to run and show their support. They received extra-strong blasts of color from their students.

“They aimed for me,” John Coller, a band director at the middle and high schools, said. “I run a lot of 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons. I’ve heard of this, but it’s the first color run I’ve done and it was a blast. I’d definitely do it again.”

Dodd said the society hopes to make the color run an annual event. The group might expand the event to include music and perhaps pair it with the Jasper Chalk Walk Arts Festival, which happened to also be Saturday after a rain delay the week before.

“It’s kind of a natural fit so we’ll have to talk about that,” Dodd said. “It’s definitely an artistic event.”

Bell said she hopes the society can continue to hold color runs and find some brighter powder that will stick better to the runners.

“It was a great fundraiser,” she said. “It was a little trial and error, but it was great.”

Dodd, who had intentionally stayed away from the powder, found himself mobbed by the happy students after the run. Their well-coated clothes left smears of powder on his black zip-up jacket.
“I knew that was going to happen,” he said, laughing.

Contact Alexandra Sondeen at

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