The newest craze in fitness events - short fun runs where participants are bombed with brightly colored corn starch - makes its Lowcountry debut in March.
Headlining an array of arrivals in the Charleston area for the new year is Color Me Rad, a 5K set for March 23 at the Exchange Park in Ladson.
This Americanized, capitalized version of Holi, the Hindu religion's "festival of colors," has spread like wildfire across the country in the past year, much like similarly trendy obstacle-course "mud runs" aimed largely at young adults.
The emphasis of these events is on making fitness fun while making the organizers money.
For those who want to sign up before the fee goes from $35 to $40, the deadline in Jan. 11. Wait until March 20, and this 5K will cost you $45 ($14.50 per mile).
Registrants can choose from four waves of runners who will be bombed with brightly colored powder, described as "non-toxic, non-rash-inducing, Kroger branded, colored corn-starch," with waves starting at 10 a.m. and leaving in 20-minute intervals.
Like many corporate events, no contact person or phone number was listed on the website, www.colormerad.com, that lists a whopping 49 cities with Color Me Rad events. But questions can be submitted over email via the website.
While running and bluegrass might seem like an odd mix, the organizer of a new bluegrass festival in Mount Pleasant, the Sweet Grass Music Festival, has seen other festivals hold races and liked the idea.
"Since this is a charity event and we wanted to raise awareness of and money for the charities, I thought a run might help that," said organizer Mike Murrell.
The 5K will be held at Patriot's Point at 9 a.m. March 16 and will benefit the South Carolina Chapter of the ALS Association, Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation and the A21 Campaign, an international organization that fights against human trafficking.
While the Charleston area has had ultra runs, a 50K and 50-miler, for years, it was always under the radar. Chad Haffa of Eagle Endurance LLC is trying to change that.
Haffa already has established several trail runs in the Francis Marion National Forest in recent years, and the natural extension of that is to establish ultra running (any distances beyond the marathon) in Charleston.
His Last Chance 50K on Dec. 15 drew an impressive 74 starters (all but one finished the 31-mile race) as well as 11 four-person relay teams and four two-person teams.
Now Haffa is setting his sights on a 50-miler, the inaugural Wambaw Swamp Stomp on May 4 in Cordesville, with the hopes of turning it into the first S.C. qualifier for the granddaddy of all ultras: the prestigious Western States Endurance Run 100-miler.
"We're too late to be a qualifier for 2014, but we're being considered to be a qualifier for 2015," Haffa said. "A lot of it will depend on the size of our race and if it's hard enough of a challenge.
"I want to make this our (Eagle Endurance's) signature event," he added,
Memorial Day run
Holiday-themed runs are popular in Charleston and across the country, but there's never been one on Memorial Day.
The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission is filling that void somewhat with the Run to Remember 5K at 6:30 p.m. May 23, the Thursday evening before Memorial Day weekend, at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.
The PRC's Oliver Sendall said the race is an effort to offer people a chance to kick off the long weekend with an after-work event to do, similar to the Catch the Leprechaun and Oktoberfest runs.
Also an effort of the PRC, which is upping the ante in offering fitness-oriented events, the inaugural Lowcountry Trail Half Marathon will be held Oct. 12 at the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center on Johns Island.
While details still are being worked out, Sendall noted that the course will be "entirely different" from the Mullet Haul 10-mile and five-mile races at the equestrian center in March.