Colorful, fitness enthusiasts crowded the UC Santa Barbara campus walkways Saturday morning for a fun run unlike anything ever seen on the Central Coast.
More than 8,000 runners and walkers from throughout California took part in the UCSB-hosted “Run or Dye” 5K event, touted by organizers as one of the largest running events ever in Santa Barbara County.
Many were still clamoring to sign up for their “Run or Dye Santa Barbara” experience bright and early Saturday morning, as the area near Harder Stadium flooded with anticipation before the slightly delayed 9 a.m. start time.
“Run or Dye” has swept the nation with its fun painted runs that promote fitness with a splash of color and draw at least 10,000 participants who would rather not keep track of their running splits.
So many runners and walkers showed up Saturday that many participants — still waiting for their staggered start — were able to cheer on others who were sprinting to finish on the other side of the UCSB parking lot.
Several dye stations decorated plainly — or wildly — dressed runners with bouts of color before they finished amid a “festival of colors” as a final opportunity to cover every inch of their bodies in dye made from biodegradable cornstarch.
In a proud showing of Gaucho spirit, the campus course’s first and final dye stations spouted the university’s blue and gold mascot colors.
Also in the Gaucho spirit, “Run or Dye” teamed up the UCSB Alumni Scholarship Fund to benefit from a portion of event ticket sales.
Many runners wore colorful, matching outfits consisting of high socks, tutus, neon sunglasses or shirts with pre-determined slogans, such as “Agony of da feet.”
All seemed to be sporting smiles as they flowed through dye stations, snapping pictures with their smart phones.
Several braver souls pushed strollers and wheelchairs all the way through the finish line, which was lined with supporters wielding signs — “I see dyed people!”
Jose Valladares of Goleta was relieved to reach the final dye dousing after having pushed his 5-year-old daughter, Ariana, through the course. He waited for the rest of his running team to appear.
“It’s so fun,” said Valladares, adding that his whole family had participated in their first "Run or Dye" event together.
(Santa Barbara Arts TV video)