The third annual Community Kolor Run sponsored by Riverside Athletic Club raised $4,500 for Merrill United Way. That brings the three-year total donation to $19,500.
While participation was down this year at 450, there was more color to go around as the event started and ended with a color throw in front of Riverside Athletic Club.
“We were throwing color by the pound at the end of the race,” said Paul Kienitz, owner of Riverside Athletic Club.
The Kolor Run route remained the same this year, running in a loop utilizing Riverside Avenue, State Street, the River Bend Trail and Center Avenue. There was some fine tuning this year, such as eliminating the fun run portion and starting the walkers before the runners to tighten up the finish time of the event.
The Kolor Run requires the services of over 100 volunteers. The Riverside staff, along with local businesses and community members help with the event. The Merrill Police Department also assists with traffic control. The local HAM radio club sets up a command center at Riverside Athletic Club and helps coordinate the event, monitoring 14 checkpoints along the route. This year, U.S. Marine Corps recruits who had trained at Riverside Athletic Club came back to volunteer at the event in their dress blues.
Kienitz noted that the Kolor Run picked up more business sponsors this year.
The Kolor Run draws participants from all over Wisconsin, as well as neighboring states.
Having the River Bend Trail available for the event is a big benefit, Kienitz noted, creating one of the most scenic runs in the state.
Riverside Athletic Club has been holding an event to benefit the United Way for 10 years; the Kolor Run was preceded by the Run United timed race.
Kienitz said his decision to support the United Way was based on the organization’s reach in the community.
“The United Way has been my charity of choice for the last 10 years,” Kienitz said. “I looked at how to give back to the community in terms of how much impact the United Way has on different agencies. The United Way makes sense and the money stays in Merrill.”
The Merrill United Way provides funding to 19 agencies in the Merrill area that assist local residents in need.
“As far as events that engage the community, (the Kolor Run) is really the only event we have that does that,” said Merrill United Way Director Dee Olsen. “Thank you to Riverside Athletic Club for doing this.”