College Town Color Dash unites students, community

(Photo by Tony Post) A splash of colored dust hits a runner at Chuck's College Down Color Dash.
(Photo by Tony Post) A splash of colored dust hits runners at Chuck’s College Down Color Dash.

Weber State University hosted the College Town Color Dash in conjunction with WSU President Charles Wight’s inauguration on Oct. 19. Students ran from the WSU campus to Ogden Municipal Gardens on 25th Street. Participants had color thrown at them at the finish line.

“President Wight is an avid runner, so we wanted, during his inauguration week, some portion of that week to reflect who he is (and) what he believes in,” said Bev Rudd, director of special events at WSU. “So we came up with a run. It originally was a half marathon, but that became way too complicated. There are a lot of people in the community that would not run a half marathon, so we thought, to get the students involved, we would just do a 5K, the college color run.”

This is the first year WSU has hosted a color race, and students were geared up and ready to run the 5K with Wight, who has participated in 35 marathons.

“We put advertising out into the Ogden city,” Rudd said. “We put a challenge out to all of the clubs and organizations at WSU that if they sign up using the promo code ‘run10,’ then there is another section of the registration page that asks for the club or organization. The club or organization that has the most runners will receive $500.”

The race drew in around 700 participants.

“It was Bev Rudd’s brain,” said Wight before the run. “She knew I had been a runner in my past . . . and she came up with the idea of a color run and ran it by me, and I said OK. I have never actually done a color run before, so this will be a new thing for me as well.”

Registration started on June 1 and went up to Oct. 18, the last day before the race. All the proceeds went to the Dream Weber program.

Dream Weber is a need-based scholarship program that was started here in about 2010, and it leverages federal Pell grants,” Wight said, and mentioned that the scholarship is good for up to eight semesters. “It’s a really good scholarship. It’s a full ride.”

Following the race, runners and community members could enjoy a DJ and another color throw. Community members and students who are not runners were able to participate in the color toss at the end of the race and show WSU pride.

“I think this is wonderful for the community as far as promoting health goes,” said Susan Thornock, nursing department chair. “It also helps us recognize WSU as being pro-health. I think it starts the year off by focusing on a healthy attitude.”

Dane Lobdell, the first runner to make it to the finish line, came in covered in purple and a smile.

“I have ran all my life. I am a running buddy of Chuck Wight,” said John Straley, the second runner to come in. “This was so well organized. It’s a gorgeous course and colorful. When this kind of stuff is this well run, it shows. It reflects on the city and on the college very favorably.”

The finish line was filled with excited runners, people cheering and volunteers tossing color in every direction.

“You have people standing outside of their front doors to see what is going on, and you hear someone yell, ‘Weber State,’” Lobdell said. “It gets the community involved with the university.”

The run created a chance for students to closely participate in honoring Wight’s inauguration, as well as continue to connect the community and WSU.

“The students are all over the course, fast and slow, and having lots of fun,” Wight said. “The best part was going through the color stations where the students got to throw colors all over me. It’s a lot of fun. We have a whole group of events this week, the inauguration on Tuesday, Imagine Dragons on Friday and the day of community carrying on Saturday. It will be a great week.”