OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - Brightly colored tutus, white T-shirts reading "Got Hope?" and a rocking good time seemed to be the theme of Saturday's Rely for Life 5K Fun Run/Walk.
With 650 registered participants, organizers of the event- the staff at Lake Regional Hospital Family Birthing Center - say the run may have been the largest event of its kind ever held in the Lake of the Ozarks area.
"When we decided to sponsor a Relay for Life 5K run, we hoped for a turnout of about 150," said event organizer Lauren Cobb. "But once we posted it on the Internet, it grew so fast that we stopped accepting registrations because we were afraid we wouldn't be able to handle the crowd."
Based on the national Relay for Life's theme of "What's Your Color," the party began at 7 a.m., at the pavilion in the Osage Beach City Park, with a DJ playing rock music while the gathering crowd exchanged greetings, did warm-up exercises, picked up their race packets or danced to the music.
While runners and walkers waited for the race to start, local business sponsors and supporting Lake Area police and fire departments set up the equipment needed to keep the partying going long after racers crossed the finish line.
And the bounce houses, dunk tanks, helicopter rides and concession stands promised to provide enough fun to keep the runners and walkers on site for hours.
With all the proceeds going to the Relay for Life Camden County, participants came from all over mid-Missouri and beyond.
"We've had people come from as far away as Kentucky and South Carolina just to run in this event," Cobb said. "So many people who have participated in other What's Your Color events saw it on Facebook and decided to be in ours too we were amazed."
Color runs, 5 or 10 K races where the participants are given a small package of colored powder and invited to toss it on each other, are a recent phenomenon sweeping the country. Cobb said her participation in a "color run" in Kansas City prompted the birthing center staff to organize a similar event here at the Lake.
"I went up there and paid $60 to participate and had so much fun that when I told my coworkers about it, they decided we should have one here to support our local chapter of Relay for Life," Cobb said. "But, wow, we never expected this kind of turnout."
The staff at the Lake Regional Hospital's Family Birthing Center have formed their own Relay for Life team and named it "Got Hope?" The group has participated in other Relay for Life galas, but this year's color run was their first attempt at organizing their own event.
Relay for Life is an organization, supported by the American Cancer Society, in which local chapters around the globe stage campouts, fun runs and other festival-type events to raise money for cancer research. There are several Relay for Life chapters in Mid-Missouri including the one in Camden County.