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5K brings color, support for local health programs

5K brings color, support for local health programs

The HEAL Color Splash 5K is different than a lot of area 5Ks.

Participants run through five different color stations. They get splashed with colored powder, go through a misting arch, a bubble station and a super soaker station. Melissa Fountain, HEAL event coordinator, said the 5K is now in its seventh year and has grown and expanded since its inception.

“It’s one of the events created to support our mission in the community to get people moving in a fun way,” she said.

This year’s HEAL Color Splash 5K Run and Walk will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. Registration opens at 8 a.m. Participants will have the option to purchase a nutritious breakfast or lunch. Following a group warm-up in a fun, festival atmosphere, the run/walk will begin at 9 a.m.

“People can take their time on the course. It is both a walk and a run. We will have people coming through the finish line 20 or 30 minutes after the start,” Fountain said. “Others will make it a fun stroll. Some will be families with young children and strollers. They will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.”

The event is not intimidating and appeals to people of all fitness levels, she said. While there will not be chip timing, there will be a clock for those who are concerned with their finish time. HEAL promotes the 5K as a family event, offering free participation for children ages five and younger.

“If you are racing for time, you can see your time but you don’t need to feel like you are competing with other people in your age group or your neighbors,” she said. “It’s a fun run for all participants.”

Hagerstown YMCA’s HEAL, which promotes healthy eating and active lifestyles, has introduced a number of free programs to the community including 10,000 Steps and the Rethink Your Drink Challenge. The group aims to provide nutritional and lifestyle-based resources to help reduce the prevalence of obesity in Washington County.

The HEAL Color Splash 5K has become one of its most popular efforts, Fountain said. She anticipates this year’s event will draw nearly 700 participants, including school groups and work groups.

With the cost of registration, participants will receive a white T-shirt which likely will become multi-colored by the end of the course. At the finish line, each finisher will get a medal and bottle of water.

Beginning last year, HEAL offers a different colored medal each year to represent a color of the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate nutrition guide. Last year, medals were green indicating the importance of vegetables. This year’s will be blue in reference to dairy.

“We’ll continue to change the medal color for the next three years,” Fountain said, to cover red for fruits, orange for grains and purple for protein.

New to the event is the addition of a small festival with vendors and activities in the grassy area of the park. There will be photo opportunities, giveaways and resources for attendees to learn about nutrition and healthy eating.

Keedysville-based Whistle Punk Farm Food Truck will be on hand with farm-to-table fare, using ingredients grown and raised by sustainable farmers in the local area.

“We feel their practices fit right into our healthy eating, active lifestyle we have here at HEAL,” Fountain said.

The Color Splash 5K serves as a fundraiser for HEAL.

“It is one of the largest fundraisers for the program that we do annually,” Fountain said. “Funds from this event will support our community initiatives.”

HEAL works with Washington County schools through fitness and after-school programs, and partners with businesses through its Healthy Business program.

“We have a lot of partnerships with organizations like Meritus and the health department,” she said.

HEAL Color Splash sponsors include Capital Women’s Care of Hagerstown, Meritus, Ewing Oil, Middletown Valley Bank, M&T Bank, Antietam Pediatrics and Adolescent Care and many others.


If you go...

What: HEAL Color Splash 5K Run and Walk

When: Saturday, Sept. 28. Registration open at 8 a.m., run/walk begins at 9 a.m.

Where: Fairgrounds Park, 351 N. Cleveland Ave., Hagerstown

Cost: $40 for general registration; $25 student rate; free participation for children ages five and younger. Discount group rates available.

Contact: Visit Hagerstown YMCA on Facebook or go online to

More information: Online registration closes Thursday, Sept. 26 at noon. Pre-registration available at Hagerstown YMCA front desk. Onsite registration at Fairgrounds.



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