Lawrence officials make Color Run organizers pay large deposit - KCTV5 News

Lawrence officials to make Color Run organizers pay large deposit

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The largest and possibly messiest 5K event series in the nation is headed to Watson Park in Lawrence and the organizers will have to put down a hefty deposit before the runners cross the starting line.

City leaders voted to require a $20,000 deposit because cleanup from the first Color Run in Lawrence was lacking.

During a Color Run, runners start the race wearing white but, by the end of it, they are covered in paint from "color explosions" along the 5K.

The paint is essentially colored corn starch, but Lawrence leaders said the race requires unique cleanup efforts.

Color Run organizers call it the "Happiest 5K on the planet" and say it's an un-timed run with "color stations" at each kilometer to douse participants in bright colors, head to toe.

Participants and Lawrence city leaders had never seen anything like it.

"We learned we could clean up a little bit better if we had a little more help from volunteers," said Jonathan Douglass, Lawrence's city clerk.

After last year's event, cleanup by the race organizers and volunteers was less thorough than city staff expected. They had to use city resources to clean up the colored corn starch left behind.

"We had a few police officers assigned to it to control traffic and major intersections. We had public works folks on hand to run the street sweepers through. Those are the main costs," Douglass said.

This time the Color Run organizers will have to pay a $20,000 deposit. Volunteers must stay at color zones after the race until they are dismissed by the Public Works Department.

"We will refund that as long as they perform what we expect them to perform in terms of cleanup and volunteer forces there," Douglass said.

Another condition of the permit issued to the organizers includes the payment of full actual costs of city services, including police, fire and medical and public works within 30 days of being invoiced.

Color Run organizers said in a written statement:

"We love the cities and venues that host The Color Run and we work very hard to keep them that way. We pride ourselves on improved learning and growth and we have been able to work closely with an EPA certified cleaning company to improve our clean-up processes.

We are also working closely with the city to ensure the best possible cleaning plan suited for the Lawrence venue. Our goal is to leave no trace behind. We look forward to hosting the Happiest 5k on the Planet for all of our Lawrence Color Runners."

The race kicks off Saturday, Sept. 14 at 9 a.m.

The Color Run picks local charities to support in each city they hold the event in. In Lawrence they are supporting Van Go, Inc., which is an arts-based social service agency that provides year-round after-school and summer job training programs to at-risk teens.

Click here for more on the Lawrence Color Run.

Click here for cleaning tips after a Color Run.

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