ATASCADERO — Atascadero MIddle School students, parents and teachers, along with other members of the community, kicked up a cacophony of colors Saturday during the third annual Splash of Color Fun Run 5K in downtown Atascadero.
Volunteers stood on street corners all around the downtown area, dousing the passing runners in colored powder that streamed from plastic squeeze bottles, one color per station. At the end of the 5K race, runners — who mostly wore white clothes — were completely covered in all the colors of the rainbow.
After all of the runners crossed the finish line, the group gathered for a “grand color toss” finale on the baseball field at AMS. After a countdown, participants let the colors fly, sending a bright plume into the air.
Runners spent up to $35 per team to run in the race with all of the proceeds going to benefit programs at the school. Local nonprofit organization The Link also sponsored 15 teams.
“All of the proceeds benefit the programs here at the middle school — technology, sports, science, fine arts, field trips, whatever they need,” event organizer Dawn Daner said. “It goes back 100 percent to the staff and the students.”
The event usually nets around $7,000, which is deposited into the coffers of the local Parent Teacher Organization and then handed out to fulfill requests made by teachers. The PTO board, made up of principals, teachers, parents and community volunteers, will ultimately decide where the funds will go, Daner said.
“It’s just a fun event for the community as well,” she added.
A total of 245 runners participated in this year’s race, with Atascadero Middle School students Calvin Hennesy and Faith Rocha finishing in first and second place, respectively.
“Honestly, I’ve run it for the past few years and each time I’ve got third and fourth and stuff and this year it just turned on and I was like ‘yes,’” Hennesy said. “I really like the race just altogether, but this year it really caught me by surprise because they had the finish line closer last year.”
Both of the winners received free tickets to the upcoming school dance and will receive a free photo portrait at the dance.
“I’ve just been practicing and running and it paid off,” Rocha said.