Photos by Lucy Wimmer (C’20)
On Saturday, November 12, the Sewanee community banded together in the University Quad in anticipation of World Aids Day to join the Rainbow Run event, which aimed to celebrate our differences and encourage equality.
Before and after the race, members from these Sewanee organizations manned tables to help spread awareness for Trans Week and the efforts of World Aids Day as participants registered for the run. Runners had the option to run a one mile or five kilometer distance, but each participant shared a similar fate of having all of the colors of the rainbow thrown upon them at different points in their run in the form of colored powder. At the beginning of the run, participants were encouraged to throw colors in the air, resulting in a vibrant cloud of pigment that painted everyone with vigorous hues.
To follow this phenomenal initial burst of color was a joyous celebration of love and community, wherein each participant had the opportunity to chat with fellow runners in a relaxed environment. One of the leaders of the Sewanee Sports Club, David Harkins (C’17), commented on this communal spirit, saying, “One of my favorite parts was being able to run faster or slower and end up chatting with people, like my English professor from first semester freshman year whom I don’t think I have seen since. It was great to chat with him for a bit and get through my lack of conditioning with others.”
Likewise, Annie Adams (C’17) mentioned that, while runners could choose a relaxed pace, participants showed a vigorous amount of spirit in supporting this cause: “Throwing the colors, dancing, but most of all coming together and showing solidarity with our neighbors and friends contributed to the great energy everyone was sharing.”
Similarly, COHO member Sara Balte (C’17) noted the regenerative powers of communal bonding: “Especially after an emotionally draining week, the Rainbow Run came at the perfect time. The active and uplifting nature of this event brought groups of people from across campus together in celebration, and reminded this community of the support that we have for one another.”
Also mentioning the celebration of community, Zack Fox Loehle (C’17) was thrilled that such a vigorous and good-natured event was geared toward a meaningful cause. He commented, “With the backdrop as the need for greater investment in public health and LGBTQ+ resources, running made a statement while also creating a sense of community.”
The finish line was a sight to behold, with all runners having been smothered in striking red, neon green, sky blue, and bright yellow powder. After completing the final stretch, the participants enjoyed catching their breath, showing off their color-streaked hair and clothes, and dancing to some tunes. A few students and children from the surrounding community could be seen making ‘snow angels’ on the ground near the finish line in hopes of absorbing as much colored powder as possible. This event gathered the community and worked toward raising money and increasing support for efforts that facilitate equality for all.
Sponsored by Spectrum, the Community Engagement House (COHO), African American Alliance (AAA), the Healthy Hut, the Women’s Center (Wick), and the Sewanee Sports Club, this event had a phenomenal turnout from the student body as well as from faculty and community members. Registration proceeds went entirely to Chattanooga Cares, a local nonprofit organization that assists those affected by HIV, Hepatitis C, and STIs and strives to provide support and provide education health and other services.