Color exploded onto Valparaiso University’s campus on Saturday morning. The second annual SALT Color for a Cause 5K couldn’t have been on a better day. The sun was shining, the wind blew in full force covering the runners in an extra layer of chalk, and the runners were loving it all.
The SALT group - which is translated into Social Action Leadership Team - at VU is “is the Spirit-led social justice ministry of the Chapel of the Resurrection” which helps raise funds for underprivileged people around the world. Kogan Blackmon, a chair member for SALT, started the run last year and couldn’t be happier about this year, “I think God has blessed us wonderfully with so many opportunities and unique people to help out along with all of the surprises that have come along the way. We couldn’t be happier to help out and do it with something as fun as this.”
At the start line, the first round of runners filled bags with purple, blue, yellow, pink and blue bags of chalk. That group ran with a strong start, then letting the second group take their place on the line. Around 600 people signed up to the 5k this year, a huge feat for the second year of this race.
Moly Hetzner, junior at Valparaiso University and staff member for SALT, said the number of people that came this year made her proud.
"Before we got started this year there was around 530 people signed up, which is almost double of what we had last year,” she explained. “It’s incredible to see all of these people to show up and help us raise money for our spring fundraiser. Hopefully next year we’ll triple the amount of people. "
When the participants crossed the finish line volunteers covered them in enormous amounts of yellow chalk. From head to toe the runners were covered in color, getting it in their hair, all over their face and of course staining their white shirts.
Not all of the people running 5K came in their regular running gear. Jason Carter and two other brave men, from the financial group sponsoring the run, came in their suits and ties. "It was my idea a few months ago to dress up for this. We’re the sponsors for this run and our motto is ‘bringing together faith and changes for good’, so we thought that wearing our suits would be a good way to merge the two because this is what we do at work, and even on a Saturday," he said.
In the end all of the colorful participants threw the extra chalk straight into the air, making the streets a technicolor dream. This year's run raised a hefty total of $29,000 toward SALT’s efforts to fund eight artists in Nairobi, Kenya. All of the funds that were raised to their project, Kick Start Kibera, goes to the World Relief Campaign, which is associated with the Grain of Rice Project. SALT plans on making this event an every year occurrence, and one to make the color spring out in May. Congratulations to students and members of SALT who made the run successful and good luck to the runners scrubbing the chalk of their faces.