LIVINGSTON, NJ — A couple hundred showers were likely flooded with colors as Color Livingston runners rinsed off the remains of Livingston’s first annual Color Run this passed Sunday. Family and friends gathered at the Oval to help the Livingston Healthy Community Healthy Youth and Senior Youth Leisure Services raise funds for the brand new all-inclusive playground at Monmouth Court Community Center.
Hoping to finish the playground by June, the Township of Livingston and SYLS received a grant from Essex County, but they need the community’s help. Color Livingston was a way for the community to become aware about the project while giving the town a reason to get excited about it.
“Growing up in Livingston, some of my fondest memories were of the Harrison Elementary jungle gym after it was renovated and remembering how much fun I would have with my friends after school,” Livingston resident Sasha Shulman said. “I think having a brand new playground is not only promoting a healthy lifestyle for kids but it also promotes children reaching out and meeting new people.”
People from Livingston and multiple surrounding towns came out for the Color Run, decked out in white and ready to get colored. Almost 700 people registered for the event, which was jam-packed with music, refreshments, blow up obstacles and a whole lot of color.
A large number of Livingston’s youth came to enjoy the hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, Philly Pretzels, juice and balloon animals. But many of them were mostly excited to run the three and a quarter miles while having colors thrown on them.
“I like to run because it makes me feel strong and powerful,” said 9-year-old Brielle Angelson, who had just completed her second 5K.
The 5K itself began at the Oval where runners made four laps as they were showered with color. Many of Livingston’s student clubs participated in the run by selling tickets and painting the town with dyed cornstarch. Many said they were thrilled to be a part the event because the all-inclusive playground will give the town’s youth a chance to have fun with each other regardless of gender, age or abilities.
“I decided to join the Action Club because I wanted to become involved in helping kids with disabilities and participating in charity events,” Livingston High School freshman Carly Miseo said. “The color run was a good cause because the playground that is being built at Monmouth Court gives the kids a chance to have fun and play in an all-inclusive way.”
Beginning at the Oval, students, parents, strollers and teams came together as a community and walked, ran, skipped and rolled through the finish line at Monmouth Court. Whether they ran as individuals or as a team, the goal to do something active as a community was met.
“For me the Color Run was the perfect entrée to the world of 5K’s. Now I can’t wait to do another one,” said Christine Radlmann, who ran as a team for The Max Challenge of Springfield. “I’d never run even a mile before so I thought I’d have to walk the entire thing. But because it was a low-pressure ‘fun run,’ I wasn’t intimidated and found myself excited to keep running and get doused with color.”
According to Livingston Mayor Rudy Fernandez, the execution of the event could not have been more successful. He said that this project is something they have wanted to do for a long time, but the grant from Essex County and this fundraiser finally made it possible.
“We have a lot of great programs for kids with disabilities but we felt there was always one need that wasn’t being met,” Fernandez said. “One thing that was missing was an adaptive program like this and now with the grant and the fundraiser we were able to get the ball rolling.”
Color Livingston raised a successful sum of about $25,000 toward the project. The new year will see a playground meant for any and all children and possibly a second Color Run.