Glowing in the dark

UV Splash Color Dash participants get pumped up with a live DJ prior to Saturday’s race. (William Morris/People’s Press)

OWATONNA — Habitat for Humanity of Steele-Waseca Area pulled out all the stops — and all the colors — on Saturday to raise money to build new homes across the region.

The organization hosted a UV Splash Color Dash on Saturday evening that saw runners festooned in glow sticks and doused in bright neon powders under bright ultraviolet lighting. Scores of runners were on hand at 9 p.m. in the Cabela’s parking lot to kick off the run.

“We had 100 registered as of yesterday,” local Habitat executive director Pat Heydon said shortly before the run. “I think I heard today we were up to about 115, and we’ve had some walkups.”

The runners followed a course through the Cabela’s and Christian Family Church parking lots before looping around Walser Automotive and returning. Two full circuits got the runners to five kilometers, and by the end, all were brightly smeared with a variety of glowing colors.

“The 5K starts with color,” said race director Abby Hanson. “You’re going to get hit with four different colors, two on the course and start and finish.”

Hanson works with Color Dash, a locally-based company that runs color dashes and related events all across the country. She said Color Dash has done other UV events in other locations and was excited to bring it to Owatonna.

“The colors are all neon,” she said. “This one, we can do it through powder. We’ve also done races through a UV water, almost a tie-die. That one works a little better when it’s hotter out.”

The weather was clear but chilly Saturday, but runners had a treat on hand to warm them up: Log Home Wood Fired Pizza of McGregor was on hand with a mobile pizza oven to serve hot meals to participants.

Owner Rick Herman said the restaurant got involved through his son, Taylor, who helped organize the event. He said they cater for many fundraisers and other events, although this is the first time they’ve worked with Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s a very nice organization, does a lot of good,” he said.

On Monday, Heydon said they were glad to have had so many on hand to take part in the event.

“I think the evening went really well,” she said. We had a really nice turnout, [with] great, enthusiastic people.”

The total amount raised, which includes a donation from the Walser Foundation and a cut of race registrations and sales from vendors, wasn’t available yet Monday, but Heydon said the organization was happy with the event overall.

“We’re going to evaluate and determine if this is going to become an annual event, but we were very pleased with the people who came out and celebrated with us,” she said.

William Morris is a reporter for the Owatonna People’s Press. He can be reached at 444-2372; follow him on Twitter @OPPWilliam

City government and public safety reporter for the Owatonna People's Press

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