Kolor Run nearly triples donation to United Way
The donation to Merrill United Way from the first Community Kolor Run came in at $8,000, more than doubling the proceeds from last year’s Run United race.
Riverside Athletic Club ran Run United as a United Way fundraiser for six years. Last year’s race drew just under 200 runners and generated a donation of about $2,800. For this year, Riverside Athletic Club decided to change the event format from a timed race to a color run/walk, which broadened the appeal and drew 886 participants.
Instead of being a timed race, the Kolor Run “had everything to do with having a good time,” said Riverside Athletic Club owner Paul Kienitz. He added that in his 34 years in business, he’s put on a lot of event, but this one had a certain “wow factor” he hasn’t seen before.
The Kolor Run was popular with Merrill area residents but also drew many participants from outside the area. The event drew a wide range of ages, from families with small children in strollers to older adults. Initially, Kienitz had set his expectations at slightly above Run United levels and ordered enough colored powder for 350 participants. By the time registration closed in April, Riverside had more than doubled its color order.
Nearly 100 volunteers were on hand to help keep the event running smoothly. The seven color checkpoints along the 3.3-mile route were manned by volunteers from local business sponsors.
Kienitz said he was proud to showcase the new River Bend Trail as part of the Kolor Run route.
Merrill United Way provides funding to 18 local agencies that impact people’s lives in the areas of health, education or basic needs.
Kienitz said United Way is his business’s charity of choice because of the broad impact it has on the community. Since starting the Run United event, Riverside has raised over $30,000 for United Way.
“This is Paul’s way of contributing in a very special way to United Way,” said Dee Olsen, Merrill United Way director. “When you give to United Way, the money is going to multiple purposes.”
The second annual Kolor Run is slated for May 7, 2016. Registration will open Jan. 2, 2016 and all indications are that it will be even bigger and better than the inaugural event. The Kolor Run Facebook page has already garnered close to 50,000 hits.