Wearing Three Hats and A Colorful Shirt at This Year’s Color Run

At Saturday’s Color Run I found myself wearing three hats: that of a staff member, a volunteer and a runner (which led to my colorful shirt). As a part of the staff and as a volunteer, I was welcomed with open arms and quickly engaged in the morning’s activities. It was nice to see familiar faces of the SYF staff as I found my way through the plaza, to volunteer check-in and then to my assignment.
But the coolest part of the morning was when the volunteer coordinator asked for someone to run the course (“sweep the course”). I quickly volunteered, although admittedly I wasn’t really prepared to run the 3 miles (let alone, run it twice). But the spirit of the run, the volunteers and the colorful course made it easy. 
During the second time through the course, I started to make some connections between the work of SYF, the students and The Color Runners. That may sound strange, but it kept me entertained for a few miles. For example …
  • Training: Some of the participants were running their first 5K and just like the students at the Academies, there is a lot of training (and preparation) that goes into finishing and succeeding.
  • Support: Students get a lot of support from staff, teachers and administrators at the Simon Youth Academies – and while I doubt they hear hooting, hollering and get colors thrown on them, they are supported along the way. Just like the volunteers on the course who wanted the runners to succeed, there are a lot of Simon employees and supporters wanting to see students succeed too.
  • Cutters and quitters: There were a few runners who I saw stop, cut corners and even quit. I can only imagine that there are times in their lives that these young students – many of whom are faced with insurmountable challenges, want to do the same. However, with the support they receive from SYF, they find a way to continue on.
  • A celebration like no other: The finish line was a colorful, crazy and fun celebration. People lined up to cheer on their friends and family, pictures were taken to commemorate the memories and runners celebrated the finish. Again, as I tried to make a connection, I couldn’t help but think what an amazing celebration it must be for the students who have received $10 million in scholarships from SYF and for the 10,000 Academy students who train, prep, work hard and cross their own finish line.

So wearing my three hats again, I want to first say thank you to The Color Run for partnering with SYF; thank my volunteer partners who made my shift fun; and as a runner I want to thank everyone for truly making it a great experience.  The Color Run truly is the “happiest 5K” – and I have my colorful shirt to remember it!

Click here for a “colorful” look at more pictures from The Color Run!

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