Scenic City runners may be amping up their training for the upcoming Color Run, but a few Chattanoogans got a jump-start with their own version of the event on Friday.
Roughly 40 disabled students and adults, members of the Children’s Program and Adult Services at Signal Centers, participated in a quarter-mile run at the nonprofit’s Brainerd facility.
“Signal Centers’ participants are looking for an opportunity for rich life experiences through school, work and meaningful relationships,” said Donna McConnico, CEO of Signal Centers. “Color Me Chattanooga will provide awareness and funds to help open doors to the future.”
The larger Color Me Chattanooga 5K race will benefit Signal Centers. The nonprofit specializes in educational and support programs that foster lifelong independence.
The race committee wanted to ensure those benefiting monetarily also had an opportunity to enjoy the run’s unique, colorful experience. The committee worked with the facility’s staff and students to make Friday’s mini-race a reality.
“For some of the adults, this will be the first time they will get to participate in a race and perform publicly,” said Courtney Chandler, adult services director. “This is going to be such a self-esteem boost that they can complete something that is mainly physical.”
The mini-race was also a valuable experience in planning the event with their own creative initiative and organizing the group of 25 volunteers, snack bags and the logistics of the day.
Finally, the race ended with a special exercise of the students’ and adults’ dance skills. The runners and volunteers waited for that by-now-familiar beat to drop and then let loose with their excitement and delight about the Color Me Chattanooga mini-race in their own version of the "Harlem Shake."
Signal Centers works with its students and adult clients to use dance as an avenue of physical expression, as well as to strengthen memory and creative skills.
The larger Color Me Chattanooga race will take place on April 6 at AT&T Field and along the downtown Riverwalk.