Clouds of orange and blue cornstarch rained down on more than 1,000 University of Florida students and some members of the Gainesville community as they ran through Fraternity Row, leaving Flavet Field behind them.
The runners participated in the second annual Gator Run 5K on Saturday. Developed last year by Mercedes Castro, a Florida Cicerone senior, the 5K was designed as a way for the UF Alumni Association to receive funds to fuel back into UF.
“It all goes towards helping UF’s campaign as part of our preeminence campaign to be a top 10 public school in the nation,” said Ashley Nicole Dean, the Gator Run programming director. “In and of itself, it is a philanthropy for UF.”
By following the popularity of other color runs throughout the country, the Gator Run used orange and blue colors to make it an event tailored for the university.
“We wanted to really refresh the perspective that students had on the Alumni Association and create a really fun tradition that can be held here at the university as a membership drive for them,” said Dean. “We ran with it, and in the very first year we had 1,300 runners.”
The event directors partnered with Children’s Miracle Network as part of a larger philanthropy of in-kind donations of art and music supplies that go directly to the children’s section of UF Health.
Finishing in first place with a time of 18 minutes and seven seconds, Renee Marin-Gomez, a UF transfer student who participates in the Florida Running Club, said he would participate again.
“Overall, it was a fun race,” he said. “It’s a great event.”