On Friday Sept. 28, Millersville University had the distinct honor of hosting its first ever “rainbow run.” The basic concept of a rainbow run (also sometimes referred to as a “color run”) is a non-competitive walk/run around any given area. This type of event is held all over the country, typically in order to show support for any number of causes. For Millersville in particular, it was open strictly to M.U. students and staff only, and was meant to both spread awareness and show support for the LGBTQIA community (referring to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual) that exists here at Millersville. One of the goals of this event is that it will hopefully lend itself to the promotion of a more comfortable and safe zone for those who associate themselves with the community.
The event had an extremely strong turnout. Just counting the students alone, well over the initially estimated 400 that had confirmed their plans to attend on the event’s Facebook page were in attendance. Additional incentive was provided in the form of free white t-shirts for those who registered online, but supplies were limited. Whether students picked one up at the SMC prior to the run or showed up wearing them, plain white T-shirts were mandatory for this run, due to the likelihood of the runners getting splashed with colored powder as they ran.
The run itself officially began a little after 6 p.m. and the starting line was set at the tail-end of the SMC and trailed along almost the entirety of the campus, making several loops and figure-eights around familiar M.U. landmarks, ending with a finish line on the quad. The weather could not have been more perfect for a brisk jog in the early evening, reaching a satisfying middle ground between comfortably warm and just a little cool. All along the route, there were a few resting areas, with water and some smaller snack foods to help nourish the participants along the way, as well as the MUPD lending their services to make sure the roads were all clear and as safe as possible for the passing runners all along their two-mile trail.
Many of the students who participated in the run had some very positive feedback regarding the event, and showed great enthusiasm for having been a part of it. “This was a really fun event, and it was so great to see everyone showing support for the LGBTQIA community here at Millersville,” said senior Lauren Cooper.
Overall, Millersville’s first rainbow run was a very big success. It was well organized, well planned, and had just the right amount of support that such an event would need to attract attention. One could only hope that it was the start of a brand new tradition here at Millersville, and that it achieved its goal of spreading awareness on a campus-wide level.