United Way kicked off its 2013 community campaign with a huge splash at the Community Colors 5k Fun Run/Walk on Saturday afternoon, September 14th.

“We had a blast!  We are here with our grand kids, our daughter and son-in-law and we had so much fun,” shared Paul and Karen Hugo.

With a blast of neon color, a sell-out crowd of nearly 2,000 runners and walkers in white Live United T-shirts took off from the start line at Northwood University. The race included ten color stations where volunteers doused participants with color as they made their way through campus and down the Rail Trail to the Tridge.

Carol Moore Miller shared: “It was so fun squirting the little kids! And it was great to see everyone out having fun today!”

At the halfway mark, racers were given a “High Five” by local mascots, including Lou E. Loon, Tennis the Menace, Squirrel, Woody, Ieuter Man and local high school mascots. There were informational signs throughout the race route educating everyone about the needs in the community, how we are coming together for change and ways for everyone to get involved.

“I work for a United Way partner agency and we are here teaching our children what it means to Live United,” shared Misty Janks, who was joined by her husband and daughters in full costume.

Runners and walkers were met at the finish line with applause and a final burst of color. Empty Canvas was there, rocking the stage while they invited participants on stage to help create an original Community Colors 5k painting.

“What an incredible snapshot of the spirit of our community,” shared 2013 Campaign Chair Greg Rogers. “It was thrilling to see so many people make their way through the gauntlet of color, whether they ran, walked, volunteered or cheered people on. We learned, improved our health and made new friends all while supporting the community.”

The free Kids Color Obstacle Course sponsored by Members First Credit Union was a huge hit, with over 400 local kids jumping, climbing and even crawling through the course, as they collected color on their T-shirts. There were also United Way partner agencies under the tent, with fun and engaging activities to illustrate they many ways they impact lives.

“Like any great community success story, it took many hands make it happen,” shared Ann Fillmore, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “Our generous sponsors, advocates and over 400 volunteers came together to ensure the first annual Community Colors 5k was a huge success.”

“It was a blast! Definitely doing it again next year,” shared an excited Dan, who was attending a United Way event for the first time.

The Community Colors 5k was sponsored by: Chemical Bank, The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Corning Corporation, MidMichigan Health and supported through the generosity of Northwood University and the Midland Community Center.