Michael ’ s Mile Color Powder Fun Run Raises Funds and Fun while Outpacing Previous Events
By: Orange County Communications Department
Over 100 participants registered for this year ’ s Michael ’ s Mile Color Powder Fun Run, which is organized by Orange County Parks & Recreation and the Orange Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT). The event is designed to raise funds for the Michael ’ s Gift Youth Activities Scholarship program, which helps offset the cost of youth extracurricular activities for families in need. This scholarship program was founded in remembrance of Michael Ridgeway, a young Orange County student who tragically passed away at age six (6). His giving spirit and caring attitude towards others shines through in the assistance provided by this program.
The run traditionally begins with a “ color powder cloud. ”
Michael ’ s Mile itself exemplifies resiliency. First offered in 2014, it has come and gone over the years, undergoing several restructures along the way. Initially a timed, track meet - style competition for elementary - aged kids, it is now an untimed, approximately one - mile fun run for all ages. The color powder concept originated from the suggestion of a Locust Grove Middle School Leo Club student. Building upon this idea, their organization partnered with Parks & Recreation to revitalize the event in 2017. Following initial success, attendance once again began to dwindle, and the COVID - 19 outbreak threatened to put an end to the event altogether in the following years. A partnership with the newly formed Orange Healthy Community Action Team, or HCAT, in 2021 provided the necessary energy for the run to rise from the ashes once again, which fittingly reflected the world as a whole following months of social distancing and cancelations. Thanks to the additional promotional efforts spearheaded by the HCAT, staff were able to achieve record - breaking participation, just shy of 100 runners. The 2021 event was Parks & Recreation ’ s first to exceed 30 participants since the pandemic began. This year, the HCAT support provided additional promotional material, including a banner over Main Street in th Town of Orange, and an official “ misting station, ” which helps prepare the t - shirts to receive the color powder.
As in previous years, participants received commemorative T - shirts and sunglasses with multi - colored lenses. The run began with a “ color powder cloud. ” Each participant was provided with a small cup of cornstarch - based color powder to throw at themselves, others, or up in the air. The result is a vibrant, kaleidoscopic burst of color that gets the run off on the right foot. The course leads the runners around the upper section of Booster Park twice, achieving a distance just shy of one (1) mile. Along the route, volunteers douse the runners with more color powder loaded in condiment bottles. The joy on the faces of the record number of participants demonstrated that the run had achieved and exceeded its goals. The organizers are looking forward to bringing it back next year, more colorful than ever!
Event organizers were not spared being covered with color powder. Pictured L to R: R. Zamudio, A. Jacobs
Page 15 | June, 2022
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