By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Over 600 people have registered for Saturday's Living Color, Living United 5K run sponsored by United Way of South Central Illinois.
"Since our message is living united, we created the theme as our race name," explained Rhonda Edmonson, executive director of the United Way. "The color run is a trademark, but it goes along with the theme of supporting United Way."
Officials have been pre-registering participants for several weeks, but with the phones still ringing, there's a good chance the race will have nearly 650 participants, with several participants expected to register on the day of the race. Edmonson said the deadline has passed for participants to receive a free T-shirt.
Registration on Saturday begins at 8 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, with the race beginning around 9 a.m. Registration is $30 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.
"We'll have Zumba dancers, the Centralia cheerleaders will be here, and there will be several pre-race activities to pump up the crowd before the race," Edmonson said.
Throughout the race, there will be color station brigades where participants will get dumped with color, and sponsors will offer different activities and the opportunity to win prizes.
"One of the stops will be giving away donuts, another will have pop cycles, and we'll have limbo, hula hoop, blowing bubbles, and just a lot of fun things to do along the way," Edmonson said.
Following the race, there will be a crowd toss of color at the park amphitheater. Participants will then travel to Dale's Harley-Davidson for an after-party, giving those an opportunity who haven't done so to donate to the United Way's Stuff the Bus program.
"That will start about 11 o'clock and go through the rest of the day. Anyone who brings school supplies or makes a monetary donation will get a free lunch," Edmonson said, adding that entertainment will be provided. "It will be a fun place to get together and show off their colorful masterpieces."
Participants are encouraged to car pool to the event since 27th Street will be closed. Parking is available at Logan Street Baptist Church. The race will start at the park and go north, making a loop around the Primary Center and then make a loop around the park. Broadway will be closed while racers make their way toward the Primary Center.
Edmonson said United Way officials will be unveiling their thermometer, since the organization is kicking off its current fundraising campaign.
"It will be a little different this year," Edmonson said. "We're not measuring money, we're measuring the impact with the dollars we raise. We'll unveil that on Saturday and raise it to the first level."
Pre-registration packets can be picked up today and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the United Way office located in the GenFed Financial Building, 800 S. 42nd St.