Over 400 participants and 80 volunteers celebrated the beginning of the school year at the third annual Colour-U-Blue Run and Walk.

The streets surrounding Mount Royal University bled blue after the school hosted its third annual Colour-U-Blue run and walk on Saturday Sept. 20.

“It’s a student impact event that encourages school spirit, teamwork and meeting new people,” said Erin Birbeck, assistant event co-ordinator at Mount Royal University.

The event kicked off with Zumba instructor Catherine Zerpa leading the group of 408 participants in a fun exercise designed to warm up their muscles before the run and walk.

The routine was accompanied by upbeat music courtesy of Amp Radio, who arrived armed with speakers and free giveaways for participants, spectators and volunteers.

“We think it’s important to be out in the community and get out there and be a part of what our demographic is doing and support what they love to do,” said Amp Radio event co-ordinator Lisa Harrigan.

After the crowd of eager participants in their crisp white shirts was sufficiently buzzed, the runners assembled on the starting line so the race could begin.

Ryan Lindsay — Amp Radio host — counted down from five, a starting gun fired and they were off, laughing in anticipation of what was to come. Some ran, some jogged, others held hands or grasped the shoulders of friends and as they skipped away from the finish line and towards the first paint station.

“We think it’s important to be out in the community and get out there, and be a part of what our demographic is doing and support what they love to do.” 

— Lisa Harrigan, Amp Radio event co-ordinator

“I came out because I just wanted to have fun today,” said Ashley Hochetin, who was clad in a white tutu and high knee socks.

This is Hochetin’s second year taking part in the Colour-U-Blue run as a member of Team Moist, the defending champions of the best costume award.

At the first station, participants began their colourful journey by getting sprayed in different shades of blue liquid paint by some of the 80 volunteers who were keen to help others get good and dirty.

“It was awesome, we had such a good turnout for volunteers and I had no problem getting more than enough to help out with the event,” said Birbeck.

Along the 4.5 km run through the Mount Royal campus participants were doused in paint six times, turning their skin, shirts and smiles blue. As they crossed the finish line, participants were handed a package of powdered blue paint they were asked to hold on to until the final participant had completed the route.

Again, Amp Radio’s Ryan Lindsay counted down from five and after the final runner had reached the end, participants threw paint into the air, creating a thick cloud of blue dust that settled back down onto the crowd. Any piece of clothing or skin that had remained clean was cloaked in a coat of blue.

After the blue dust had settled, prizes were awarded for some of the more enthusiastic participants. Team Moist was able to capture the title for best dressed for the second year in a row, while the Cougars women’s basketball team won for the most participants. Chad Baird — who wore a green inflatable alien on his back during the run — clenched the title for best dressed.

Birbeck said the event was a huge success.

“Colour-U-Blue will definitely be happening again next year and it keeps getting more and more popular every year.”

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jbattison@cjournal.ca