Over 1,500 runners, walkers, hoppers, skippers, and even some cartwheelers got covered in neon colors at the first ever Gnarly Neon 5K, which took place at Chico’s Lower Bidwell Park on Saturday, Nov. 3. Proceeds went toward The Little Red Hen of Chico.
Unlike other 5K runs, the Gnarly Neon is not a timed event. The main focus is for its participants to have fun while they go through the course and get showered in cornstarch powder of different colors. People are encouraged to wear as much white clothing as possible, but wacky costumes are also allowed, according to the details page on its website.
Many participants wore crazy wigs, tutus, and unicorn horns while running through the three different color booths. DJ Mack Morris spun the tunes before the race’s start, and local band The Virals performed live around the first mile of the course. People were also soaked with water guns filled with Kool-Aid on one of the trail’s secret courses.
Shauna Nielsen, a volunteer for the event, heard about it through two of her friends from college, she said. Nielsen had never done a color run prior to this, and she ended up having a lot of fun.
“This was the biggest thing I had ever done,” she said. “It was a huge success.”
Nielsen added that the secret obstacles will contain different surprises at each event.
After the course was completed, people gathered around the starting area where tarps containing the powder laid were laid out. Participants threw the powder in the air, rolled around to get more color on their clothes, and danced to the music provided by DJ Mack Morris.
Orland firefighters Travis Harris and Mark Rubie came dressed as prison inmates in orange jumpsuits. Harris said that this was the first 5K he had ever done.
“It was something to help get me into shape,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Chico resident Chris Heindell came out since his friend wanted to do it for her 21st birthday, he said.
“I’d definitely do it again,” Heindell said.
The next Gnarly Neon 5K is scheduled to be held in Fresno, CA, in Feb. 2013. Announcement of when registration opens, and to which charity the proceeds will go, will be made via its Facebook page.
David also writes as the Chico Movie Examiner and National Boardwalk Empire Examiner.
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