By Brogan Gerhart
Terp Thon held its annual Life in Color 5K Saturday afternoon to raise money to support patients and families of Children’s National Health System.
Check-in started at 10:30 a.m. on McKeldin Mall, with the first 500 people to check in receiving complimentary white Terp Thon T-shirts to wear during the run.
Tables set up around the mall bustled with activity as participants waited for the event to start. These tables included a raffle, glitter, paint and T-shirt cutting station, Dance Marathon 2019 sign-up and more.
Samantha Goldman, a senior biology and Spanish major, worked behind the Inspiration Station table, giving information about the goals of Terp Thon and what the money that is raised is used for at Children’s National.
“It gives children in the hospitals the chance to be treated like superstars,” Goldman said. “It helps them to feel more like kids and not just patients.”
The opening ceremony commenced at 11 a.m., drawing all in attendance to the stage at the east end of McKeldin Mall where children from nine “miracle families”—families of patients being treated by Children’s National—were introduced on stage to remind runners of Terp Thon’s prevalent maxim and the reason why they were running: “For The Kids.”
Elizabeth Mehalick, a senior kinesiology major, has worked with Terp Thon for four years and said she was happy to help with the event. “It’s a chance to give back to the hospital that saved my life and my brother’s life when he was diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
Not all of the students who attended had a personal connection to Children’s National, but they were still enthusiastic about the race.
Caterina Lang, a freshman mathematics major, said it was her first time participating in the color run. “It’s for a great cause,” she said. “I’m not really a runner, but it seemed like a good opportunity to be with friends and get really colorful.”
Participants were sent out in four waves at the starting line on the side of McKeldin Mall adjacent to the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center. The first three waves were comprised of runners, joggers and walkers following the just over 3-mile course around this university’s campus. The fourth wave split off from the 5K’s course into a 1-mile Fun Run.
After passing through various “color stations” where runners and walkers were splattered by handfuls of color by Terp Thon members, the courses converged and concluded at the finish line on McKeldin Mall.
The top male finishers for the Life in Color 5K were Erik Vaughan, Jefferson Ruiz and Jacob Isaacson. The top female finishers were Greta Easthom, Kristin Wallz and Ellie Gustafson.
Following the race, participants gathered in a large group and prepared for the Color Throw. With hands, bags or shirts full of color, the mass of people hurled a rainbow of colored powder into the gray, overcast sky.
Terp Thon staff stayed after the Color Throw to teach and lead a dance, which remaining attendees, families and patients danced along to until the conclusion of the event.