Runners and walkers in the Blast! 5K crossed the finish line Saturday morning at Stewart Park in Roseburg with faces blue and shirts colored like rainbows.
As they ran, or walked, participants were peppered with brightly colored cornstarch in shades that each had a meaning. Pink was for substance abuse prevention, purple for suicide prevention, yellow for recovery, blue for bullying prevention and green for problem gambling prevention. Most opted for all five, but said it was the blue that really stuck to them.
Organizer Cati Strempel, prevention program director at event sponsor Adapt, said about 200 people turned out for the 5K. She said in addition to raising money for prevention programs, the event helps raise awareness about suicide, drug abuse and other problems. She said she wants people in the community who are struggling to know they’re “not in this alone.”
“We’re not afraid to talk about it. We’re not afraid to listen,” she said.
Mike Morgan of Roseburg, the first to cross the finish line, said he was mainly there to have some fun.
Nate Moan, 16, of Oakland crossed the finish line third, wearing a tutu.
“The crazier it gets, the more fun it is,” he said.
The first woman across the line was Rachel Harland. She had fun even though her brother David Harland beat her across the finish line.
Rachel’s face was coated in blue, and she said this was her first time at the annual event, and only the second 5K she has run. She said she was happy to support a good cause.
She attends Corban University in Salem and graduated from Roseburg High School a couple years ago, where she said she knew students who faced some of the problems represented by the colors sprayed on her T-shirt.
“I’ve definitely seen a lot of these issues affecting my peers. I’m grateful the community is doing something about it,” she said.
Jeremy McNett and his daughter Alyanna McNett, 12, crossed the finish line together.
“It’s fun to get out. It supports a great cause and it gives us something to do together,” Jeremy McNett said.
Alyanna said it’s one of the most fun of the many runs she participates in.
“I love going through all the colors and seeing people’s faces when they cross the finish line,” she said.