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Tom Mix, Published June 29 2013

VIDEO: More than 12,000 turn out for WF Run or Dye

West Fargo - The Run or Dye running event is promoted as the most colorful 5K.

Colors are a big part of the race. By the end of the event, all runners and spectators who participate are caked with colored dye.

Packets of pink, purple, yellow, green, blue and red dye were flying in a big way on Saturday morning at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. More than 12,000 runners, walkers, and dye-throwing enthusiasts participated in the untimed 5K race.

“We are known to bring the party,” Run or Dye special operations technician Jeremy Jensen said. “We are known for having fun. We throw the most color and people know that. When people come to Run or Dye they know they are in for a good time.”

Run or Dye is inspired by the Hindu religion’s celebration of Holi or “festival of colors.”

“If you get color on you it means your family or friends love you,” Jensen said.

Run or Dye events are organized through Viral Events, an entertainment company based in Utah. Organizers worked closely with Mark Knutson’s Go Far Events to set up the running course, which has several different dye stations set up along it that are designed to give racers plenty of color.

Run or Dye events are held across the country, and the first one to hit the Red River Valley was a big hit. Organizers said that it was the second largest event they had put on next to a race held in San Diego.

“We do a lot of marketing through Facebook,” Jensen said. “It just has kept getting bigger and bigger.”

The big turnout also is good news for the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties, which joined forces with Run or Dye to host the event. Saturday’s Run or Dye was held instead of the annual YMCA Chase Race.

Run or Dye works closely with a local partner at each location it holds an event. A portion of the proceeds of the race Saturday went to the YMCA’s Livestrong program, which is a free 12-week program that helps cancer survivors rebuild their strength and self-confidence.

The event also helps local runners fulfill their own goals.

Emily Lichty, 32, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., has lost 78 pounds since she started running a year ago.

“I started running at the Freeze Your Buns 5K in Detroit Lakes, and this seemed like another fun race to participate in,” Lichty said. “It’s also a fun way to celebrate my one-year anniversary of starting my weight loss goal too.”

Lichty’s running buddy Nikki Steinmetz, 38, also of Detroit Lakes, had been waiting a long time to run in a Run or Dye race.

“I have been following the race on Facebook for a long time and kept commenting that they should bring run or dye to Fargo,” Nikki Steinmetz. “Running a half-marathon has been on my bucket list, so I figured I would start with some fun 5Ks.”

Ivan Martic, 26, of Fargo liked the easy-going feel of the event.

“It’s something fun to do and great chance to meet new people,” Martic said. “Having fun is the primary draw of the race. With other marathons and races, there is such a focus on time and running well. This race is more about having a good time.”

Additional Run or Dye events are scheduled to take place next month in cities including San Francisco, Hartford, Conn., and Rapid City, S.D.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562