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Color run reminds Dillingham to live healthy

Austin Fast

Vibrant remnants of this weekend’s color run are still scattered up and down Lake Road in Dillingham. KDLG’s Austin Fast joined the crowd and has this report on the larger health message behind this fun event.

Nearly 200 kids and parents high-tailed it up the path along Lake Road in Dillingham for Saturday’s fifth annual color run.

The Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation and the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge teamed up to spread awareness of good health practices with this free event.

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Togiak Refuge’s deputy manager Allen Miller stood at the three-mile-long course’s first station with his granddaughter and her friend. They were splattering blue cornstarch over the runners as a reminder to get immunized.

"The kids really enjoy it and the adults mostly enjoy having stuff thrown on them," Miller said. "I want (my grandkids) to start early in life to make good choices. A lot of them are hard to undo. It's easier to start off on the right foot."

Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
Signs posted along the course raise awareness of good health practices.

Color-coded signs posted all along the course had blue messages like “Be wise, immunize” or this one in pink with a picture of bears: “breastfeeding is good for mother and cubs.”

There were green signs warning against tobacco use, orange to prevent bullying, purple to stop domestic violence, yellow against obesity and red for the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Volunteers tossed matching colored cornstarch over runners at each station.

Nobody timed this non-competitive run, but 17-year-old Sharon Hansen of King Salmon was excited to be first across the finish line.

"They were pretty cute signs and they had really nice messages," Hansen said. "When we were going down, the sun started popping out and it was just a really great day and a good day to run."

An army of children formed at the finish to attack runners and the occasional dog with orange powder, then purple and red. 

Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
Cassie Deardorff and her dog Yogi finish Saturday's color run in Dillingham.

"It's a really good way for my dog and I to get out here and get some exercise while supporting a really good cause. Anything local we're here for," said Cassie Deardorff, who ran with her four-legged running partner Yogi.

Susanna Henry, Togiak Refuge manager, made her way through the gauntlet of kids tossing colors at the finish. She sees a direct link between the run’s health messages and activities like rafting or hiking the refuge.

"If you spend time in the outdoors and get exercise, that can help people blow off steam and have a better attitude," Henry said. "We also said that for red, drug and alcohol prevention, you might seek a natural high on your national wildlife refuges."

These kids and parents were definitely feeling that high Saturday with lots of happy faces to go around. They plan to organize color runs in villages across Bristol Bay throughout the school year.

Contact the author at or 907-842-2200.