Hundreds of Timmins residents combined exercise, fun and unconventional artwork on Saturday by taking part in the annual Colour It Up! 5 km run/walk around Gillies Lake.
The “colour run,” as this type of event is often called, was held in support of a good cause, with proceeds going to the Seizure & Brain Injury Centre.
It began with participants wearing white shirts (in other words, blank canvases) that became increasingly colourful on the run/walk, as volunteers tagged them with coloured powder and liquid from cups and water guns.
At the end of the five kilometres, with their shirts resembling tie-dye designs, participants gathered together for one final colour burst — simultaneously opening packets of coloured power into the air to create a sort of rainbow cloud.
Almost a decade has passed since Timmins hosted what is believed to be the first colour run north of North Bay. It’s a messy endeavour, but the purpose is pure.
“We thought we wanted to do something a little more fun and draw people,” said Rhonda Latendresse, executive director of the Seizure & Brain Injury Centre. “To draw awareness to our centre.”
Latendresse said the colour run is the Seizure & Brain Injury Centre’s top fundraiser each year, netting somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000 (through racer fees and sponsorship). That money goes to the centre’s variety of programs, which serve clients who are 16-and-over and suffer from brain injuries and/or epilepsy.
Some of the programs include yoga, cooking classes, bowling and crafts. Over 50 people participate in the weekday events and “it’s growing,” Latendresse said.
She’s seen the colour run grow, too. There were 400 participants last year and Latendresse believed about the same number showed up this year, despite rain and unseasonably cool temperatures.
As the colour run grows, so does the support for programming at the Seizure & Brain Injury Centre. The impact those programs have on the centre’s clients proves that the money is well spent.
“It’s an opportunity for (the clients) to be part of the community, to socialize,” Latendresse said. “We had some that never saw anybody, never went anywhere and they’ve developed friendships amongst each other. There’s another life after their brain injury.”