RUSH TOWNSHIP — When the dust settled, Josh McCoy was splattered in a rainbow of colors.
His shirt, shorts and everything else from head to toe were a canvas blotched with green, blue, orange and pink corn starch.
So, too, were about 350 people that ran in Saturday’s Color Dash 5K at Mid-State Airport.
The 5K festivities benefited the YMCA of Centre County — Moshannon Valley Branch’s Backpack Weekend Program. The YMCA has served more than 150,000 free meals during the summers since 2004, and the run raised about $5,500 for the program, half of the race’s proceeds.
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Josh, 9, was flanked by his parents at the end of the run when a color explosion — a moment when all of the runners crowded together and threw their color packets in the air simultaneously.
The family of three didn’t emerge from the mushroom cloud of colors for about a minute.
They were sold on color dashes despite the rain.
“What would be the purpose of (running in the sun) anyway?” Josh’s father, Tim McCoy, said. “I love the rain. We love running in the rain. I’ve been through the hardcore mud runs, so the rain and mud isn’t anything new, but we’ve heard of these and thought it was a fun, family thing to do. It’s something he can do with us.”
Moshannon Valley YMCA Branch Director Mel Curtis was pleasantly surprised so many runners came out.
“I am little shocked so many people came out to run and have fun, because we were out here setting up at 5 a.m. and I thought we could be in trouble,” Curtis said. “We’re happy they showed up, because their colors stick better and will be a little brighter today with the rain, so it’s all good. It kind of shows you that the people here love stuff like this and will show up no matter what.”
That’s what Curtis and 5K co-organizers Jamie Ryan and Whitney Cline were banking in the last 24 hours. Participants flooded the run’s Facebook page the day before the race and asked if it was canceled.
The answer was always rain or shine the show would go on, and runners turned out in force.
“They’re always going to remember they came out to the old airport and ran a color dash out here,” Ryan said. “This is one you can’t forget.”
Scottie Pantall, 8, said his first color dash won’t be the last.
He crossed the finish line with his sister Sadie, 5, and their parents.
“Look for us,” Scottie said. “We’ll be there at the next one.”
Surely, they’ll be caked in colors there, too.