Emcee Mark Vos – formerly the principal at El Portal Middle School and now the Escalon Unified School District Assistant Superintendent – grabbed the microphone to address the nearly 400 runners on Saturday morning, after they had all stretched, warmed up and made their way to the informal starting line.
“So,” Vos started – and the runners were off.
They quickly had to be reined in, brought back to the starting line, as Vos said ‘So’ and not ‘Go’ as many of them heard.
It was a lighthearted moment in what turned out to be a very successful event, with the Escalon Educational Foundation’s fun and festive Color Run staged on the Escalon High School playing fields.
After getting everyone back under control, Vos explained the course and noted that cross country coach Michael Bower would fire off the starter’s pistol to officially begin the run.
Once again lined up and ready, runners watched as Bower raised the pistol skyward, pulled the trigger … and heard only a click. After some brief adjustments, and once again getting the runners on the line, the pistol fired and the race started.
Not so much a race as a fun run, participants could do either one or two loops of the one-mile course. Starting out on the football field, the runners followed a course that went around the campus, skirting the baseball and softball diamonds, running on to the soccer fields, then making their way back to the football stadium. Several color stations were set up along the way for volunteers to douse runners in a variety of powdered hues, blue, green pink, orange and more.
With a scheduled start time of 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, the participants first had a chance to warm up with stretches and exercises, overseen by Aimee Foster of EscalonFIT.
Several clubs were scattered around the campus to staff the color stations, and El Portal’s leadership students had a food booth set up inside the football stadium, serving up a variety of breakfast items for some post-race nourishment.
Organizers April Adams and Kaity French were both ecstatic with the way the event played out.
“We had an amazing turnout, we were shooting for 300 and we blew that out of the water, I think we were at almost 400 so that makes it really exciting for us,” Adams said. “Just seeing that people wanted this back after COVID, getting out with your family, doing something fun and healthy, lots of smiles out here.”
The Color Run resumed after a few years on hiatus and organizers weren’t sure what to expect, but were extremely pleased with the numbers that turned out.
Funds raised go to a variety of purposes, said French.
“We actually had six or seven clubs out here, so some money will go back to those clubs that volunteered to help out,” she explained. “Also for schools, whether it be for field trips or just kind of extra stuff in the classrooms that they need, and scholarships for graduating seniors.”
Weather predictions called for a chance of rain but the run took off under sunny skies and with a cool breeze, picture perfect conditions. Adams and French also agreed that runners sprinting as Vos said “So” made it that much more memorable.
“That was the best unscripted moment of the day,” French noted. “That’s how excited they were; they could not wait.”
The two promised the Color Run will be back next year, bigger and better.