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Race ends with a burst of neon color




Gnarly Neon 5K participants were doused with color, not ice water, Saturday at the Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex.

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Gnarly Neon 5K participants were doused with color, not ice water, Saturday at the Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex.

The race wasn't about winning.

It was about having fun and there was a family festival atmosphere as participants gathered, some with children in tow others pushing strollers.

Three generations of Denise Orth's family were there. She and her daughter, Jessica States, participated last year. This year, they brought States' children Ana 12 and Donovan 3.

The color adds to the fun, Orth said.

Renee Hoffman's family also participated. She came with her daughter's family -- Trent and Mandy Fox and sons Kyzer, 8, and Izaac, 6. Mandy Fox ran an earlier race before joining the rest of the family.

"We just like to run, and the boys wanted to try something this time. We figured it was their pace," Hoffman said.

The run was organized by Jason Brines, Wichita, who founded Mobile GameDen, a mobile video-game arcade that offers Human Hamster Balls and laser tag.

Approximately 350 registered to participate, said Wendy Brines, Jason's wife and co-owner.

The run started with groups of 20.

It was family time for Dustin Rorabaugh and Angie Zimmerman who were in the first group to set off. Zimmerman walked at a leisurely pace pushing her daughter, Ava, 2, in her stroller. Their group also included 8-year-old twins Jaxon and Lakyn Zimmerman and Rorabaugh's father, Chris Rorabaugh.

"It's something the whole family can do together to be healthy," Angie Zimmerman said.

Some of the runners squealed with delight embracing the color as they passed through the first color station where handfuls of blue, green and orange powder were thrown in the air. Others skirted the colorful haze.

The powder is corn starch with food dye.

"It's totally biodegradable and non-toxic," Jason Brines said.

There were six color stations as participants made their way through the course.

Three color stations is typical, Jason Brines said.

Wendy graduated from Fort Hays State University, and "she said we're gonna make this a party," he said.

The object was to have fun not set times, but Richard Hodges, WaKeeney, was first to cross the finish line approximately 26 minutes after the event began.

This was Hodges' first 5K, but he was a runner in college.

"I've kept in pretty good shape," he said.

Hodges "looked like he slipped down the back side of rainbow," Jason Brines said as he congratulated Hodges.

Most of the participants started out wearing white Gnarly Neon 5K t-shirts.

By the end of the run, they were covered in color -- blue, green, pink, orange and yellow -- from their hair to their shoes.

Orth was among the final finishers.

"We're kind of slow, (but) we had a good time," she said.

The event concluded with a color party, where each participant gets a color packet to throw in the air at the same time.

"It looks like a Skittles factory exploded," Jason Brines said.