Healthy Woman hosting color run

Published 3:10 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It was the late Dale Earnhardt, a NASCAR legend, who once said that finishing races is important, but racing is more important.

The Healthy Woman organization has adhered to that frame of mind with its latest Wellness Challenge, a 5k run/walk beginning at L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital.

The “Color Me for Down Syndrome” run will have no winners or losers, but instead all participants will be doused from head to toe in a menagerie of colors at several intervals along the race in recognition of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

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This is the fourth wellness challenge sponsored by the Healthy Woman organization, and the second aimed at increasing awareness surrounding Down syndrome.

The color run is being held to benefit the National Down Syndrome Society’s annual Buddy Walk, which will be held Oct. 10 in Montgomery.

“Healthy Woman has sponsored three 5k runs, and the one we did in October for Down syndrome was by far the biggest one we’ve had,” said event coordinator Linda Holley.

“This year, we’re asking for sponsorships from different businesses for $50 to just give toward the National Down Syndrome Society.”

The National Buddy Walk Program was started in 1995, and has since grown to become the most widely recognized public awareness program for Down syndrome in the world.

Much like the Buddy Walk, the Healthy Woman 5k color run is aimed at promoting the acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome in the community.

“I have a granddaughter with Down syndrome, and she will be three in September,” Holley added.

“And she will be one of the ambassadors in Montgomery, and her little face will be on all of the brochures that they give out. You don’t realize what a Down syndrome child means to you until you have one in your family. They are the happiest and the most loving children you have ever seen, and they are such a blessing.”

That happiness is the source of inspiration for Holley as far as the creation of the color run is concerned.

As an untimed race, there is no pressure to exert oneself or even finish the race, although a special coloring ceremony is held upon completion of the run.

Participants of color runs aren’t necessarily concerned with posting record times or even getting a good workout, but are instead focused on having a good time and gathering for a common cause.

“To me, that goes along with Down syndrome because those kids are always so happy,” Holley said.

“To me, this goes along with not being so competitive, and instead thinking of the happiness that they have.”

The cost of pre-registration is $20 if paid by Aug. 28, and $25 afterward.

Registered participants will receive a color packet for coloring themselves and other runners, a T-shirt, water, Gatorade and a health bar.

The race begins at 8 a.m. on Sept. 7.