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JBLM's color run a "blast"

Capt. Travis Emery, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, is hit with several colors in the final stretch of the JBLM 5K Awareness Run outside Family and MWR’s Festival Tent on Lewis Main Saturday. JBLM PAO photo

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Captain Travis Emery, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, thought he could go an entire color run without getting hit with flying powder.

He thought wrong as he approached the final stretch during Saturday’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord 5K Awareness Run at Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Fest Tent on Lewis Main. The last color station with several volunteers would not simply allow him to cross without being pelted by blue, orange, purple and other colors.

Emery said he tried to talk them out of it, which didn’t work; he resembled a 1960s tie-dyed shirt crossing the finish line.

“It gets all in your face,” Emery said. “It’s a bad idea to smile, too.”

More than 2,000 members of the JBLM community attended the free event, both as spectators and participants. Entries ranged from service members to family members, retirees and civilians who made up the largest turnout for a JBLM fun run in recent memory.

But it wasn’t just a color run — the colors represented awareness for sexual violence, child abuse, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and suicide prevention.

“The partnership with Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention and Family and MWR to make this a free event is big for the community and for the cause,” said Aaron Jones, director of JBLM Sports, Fitness and Aquatics.

Plenty of people looked forward to running through a rainbow. Elizabeth Herbold and her daughter, Rachel Ogen, 14, wore all white attire for the run, even their shoes.

“We wanted to make sure we soaked up all of the color,” Herbold said.

In addition to the 5K run, there were activities inside Family and MWR’s Fest Tent with sponsors and JBLM organizations, including Armed Forces Community Services and the I Corps and 7th Infantry Division SHARP staffs.

Members from both SHARP groups considered the JBLM 5K Awareness Run as great place to deliver their message. This included the “What Would You Do?” wheel, which landed on a situation and the spinner was asked how they would handle it. One example was witnessing someone who placed something unknown in another person’s drink.

“When you put a game in the equation, you’re getting max participation and you’re reaching service members and their families,” said Master Sgt. Betrece Conley, the noncommissioned officer in charge for I Corps’ SHARP office.

The JBLM Arts and Crafts Center had a table set up where people could make awareness bracelets and collages that can acts as inspiration boards.

“It’s about using art materials for the purpose of stress relief, anger management and coping,” said center manager Lesley Hill.

The main attraction remained the color run and the different ways people left more colorful than before. No one was left out, not event toddlers in strollers and puppies on leashes.

Some runners took the opportunity to dress up as various fictional characters. Specialist Connor Albertson, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Madigan Army Medical Center, dressed up as Pikachu from Pokemon. The video game character ended up with more hues than yellow.

“Everyone wants to throw color at Pikachu; you just gotta catch him,” Albertson said.

Staff Sergeant Mario Miranda, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, said it was a great time to enjoy with his wife, Lydia, and his two sons, Salgerus, 9, and Ronaldo, 5. Miranda said the event was a good way to start talking with his sons about the right thing to do when topics like harassment and abuse come up.

“We don’t just do it for the paint and fun,” Miranda said. “We do it to show our kids the right way to grow. Teach them to respect one another, and intervene when help is needed.”

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