Record numbers for Niles Service League color run
Warm temperatures welcomed hundreds of runners at Brandywine High School Saturday as they gathered to participate in the Niles Service League’s Third Annual Color Fun Run.
With final participant numbers near 320, the fun run more than doubled in size from the previous year.
“Last year we had about 135 runners, I think that the word is getting out, and people are excited to run, and bring their friends,” said Becky Brown, NSL President.
Niles Service League members set out to make the run a fun, colorful event intended to grow in the coming years in order to provide funds to fulfill the needs of area students.
Seasoned runners, families with small children, and plenty of people just looking to support a good cause took advantage of the opportunity to give back to the community.
Jeff Orr and Cheryl Posuniak, from South Bend/Mishawaka, Indiana, who have eight children between them, brought the youngest racing participant, 7-month-old Scarlett.
“We have been looking for one of these (color fun) runs to do as a family, and this is the one we chose,” Orr said.
John Jarpe, Superintendent of Brandywine Community Schools, who gave the runners the “On your mark, get set, go!” at 9 a.m., became the unofficial time-keeper as the first racers crossed the finish line in only 23 minutes, in a tie. The winning runners were Tyler Koch, of Laporte, Indiana, and 12-year-old Brady Hunsberger, of Mishawaka, Indiana.
The winners had never met before Saturday’s race, but were happy to cross the finish line together.
“I’m here with my girlfriend,” Koch said, as he realized he left her behind in the pack somewhere to grab the shared-title of winner. Hunsberger said he came to run with his family, though he crossed the finish line without them, to share in the win.
Mary Cooper, chair of the Color Fun Run, credits the sponsors, Service League members and the community in the success of this year’s race.
“I’m really excited about the money we’re going to have going right back to the Buchanan, Brandywine and Niles students,” Cooper said. “We’re building momentum, and I expect that next year we’ll have 500 (participants).”
The Color Fun Run is the Service League’s major fundraiser for the thousands of dollars handed out in scholarships and camperships each year to local Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan students.
“Last year,” according to Brown, “we gave out more than $10,000 total in scholarships and camperships.”