Camp Alexander was bustling with at least 279 runners dressed in white, ready to stain their skin and clothing with vibrant colors for the 5k Nitty Gritty Tie-Dye Run last Saturday. This was the second year the camp hosted a race from the Nitty Gritty series.
Much like the wildly popular Color Run, participants started out in clean white clothes and were hit every kilometer of the race with powdered colors.
Damon Leiss, head of Camp Alexander, said he was excited about this race’s potential to be bigger than last year’s Warrior Dash.
“Our idea for this year was to incorporate more organizations, so it gives Emporia State students the opportunity to be more connected with our community,” Leiss said. “The idea is to improve Emporia, and to help kids – kids of all ages.”
The Tie-Dye Run was an opportunity for students to spend some time volunteering. Leiss said close to 70 ESU students volunteered at this year’s race, including students from ASG and UAC.
“They’re the ones who pretty much kind of do a lot of the work and the promotions,” Leiss said.
The race was open to people of all ages; not only ESU students, but also the children who will benefit from the money raised through the race. One three-year-old boy from Emporia Child Care, Oliver, said he excited for his first race and was going to win because he was “the fastest racer – like Lightening McQueen.”
Austin Schopper, senior secondary education major, has participated in so many races that he has lost count.
“I did the Nitty Gritty Dirt Dash two years ago,” Schopper said. “I really like that the community comes out here to support the camp. It’s such a good cause, and it’s also great to get out and enjoy running with a bunch of friendly people.”
When Schopper came to the finish line, he joined in the “Color Festival” – a mosh pit of racers coming down off their runner’s high to bombard one another with bags of their own color powder. Bystanders were inclined to “step back.”
Some of the first people to come through the finish line, Ethan Hall, junior, and Kelsey Camion, junior health promotions major, started the race in the second leg of runners.
“I had a great time,” Camion said. “It was a great course (with) the slight uphills.”
Leiss said students should participate in future Nitty Gritty races because, “it is a fun way to donate money to a great cause.”