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Runs for fun

  • Color Me Rad, a 5K run where 'color bombs' are fired at runners, was held on May 18, 2013 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. (Photo courtesy of Merlin Love)

More than a thousand people will willingly dive through mud, slide down hills, heave heavy logs and run through fallen trees in a mad dash to the finish line this Sunday, Oct. 27.

The Russian River Mud Run will begin bright and early in Healdsburg with experienced and amateur runners getting down and dirty while navigating 5K and 10K courses. It represents a new format that provides experienced runners with a change of pace while also attracting newcomers, often for a good cause.

Becky Sani, 40, of Cazadero ran last year's Mud Run and will be joined by her family on Sunday. She is using it to build up to more serious races, she said, and has been training in the Windsor foothills, at Howarth Park and on the Laguna Trail of Sebastopol.

'Run Or Dye' 5K


"I have been running on and off over the last six months," Sani said. "I am using the fun runs to build up to a half-marathon. My kids and sister and I have been having a blast."

"Dye runs" have a similar attraction, but with a different focus. Racers wearing stark white clothing are blasted with dyed corn starch at different legs of the race. By the time they cross the finish line, they are wearing a multitude of hues.

Tahryn Anderson, 35, of Santa Rosa loves all kinds of fun runs because she can get the whole family to participate, from those who are too young for serious races to those who hate running.

"With the color runs, I can get them all involved and we have fun together," Anderson said.

In May, she participated in her first running event — the Color Me Rad run at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds — with her oldest daughter and a group of family and friends.

"I am still getting the color out of my ears," Anderson said with a laugh. She appreciated the ease, with "no timers, no pressure, just lighthearted silliness," she said. "People dress up in costumes and just go to get messy. Anyone can do it."

Jessica Snowden, 38, of Santa Rosa participated in her first color run in March, an item on her bucket list. Rather than running the Color Run 5K in San Francisco, Snowden and her friend walked the 3.1-mile course while their kids ran ahead.

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