This past weekend I participated in the 5K Rainbow Color Run held at Allison Park on June 7.

This past weekend I participated in the 5K Rainbow Color Run held at Allison Park on June 7.


The color run was held in remembrance of Kaylie Hogue, Tyler Hadley, John Mangen, Payton Adams and Caleb Quesenberry. The day was set aside to honor those five young adults mentioned above who lost their lives in the past year.


Kaylie passed away unexpectedly June 5, 2013, of an epileptic seizure. Kaylie’s brother, Tyler Hadley, passed away 9 months and two days later on March 7, 2014, as a result of an automobile accident that also took the lives of John, Payton and Caleb.


Deb and Scott Hadley, who coordinated the event, said that their goal for this day was for it to be a day filled with love, hope and fellowship. They didn’t say this, but I can only hope that the day was also a day of healing for all of the families and our community as well.


I have friends who have traveled far and wide to participate in color runs. As they bring back pictures of all the smiling faces of people plastered with color I’ve always felt a little envious.


Running in a color run was something I had on my bucket list to do. Unfortunately, my friends and family are not the running type and the allure of doing a color run all by myself lost some of its sparkle.


When I heard that a 5K Rainbow Color Run was being planned for early June in Sleepy Eye, I immediately signed up. I’ve lived in Sleepy Eye long enough that even if I didn’t have someone who signed up specifically to participate with me, I would undoubtedly know a few people participating.


Deb Hadley spoke after the event about how overwhelmed she felt at the show of support. Nearly the entire population of Sleepy Eye flooded Allison Park last Saturday. The Sleepy Eye bike trail where the 5K was held could only accommodate 1,000 runners and walkers and those slots had been filled a week before the event.

Even if I would have been a complete stranger, I couldn’t have possibly felt “alone.” From the run, the guest speakers to the Christian music artist, the day was about celebration and fellowship and every single person there embraced it.


What an awe inspiring moment it was when 1,000 people lined up at the start line. Even more inspiring was the release of balloons in memory of loved ones. The moment when 1,000 participants threw different colored powder in the air to signify the start of the event was breathtaking.


I’ve participated in other 5K races and there is always a feeling of healthy competition in the air. Last Saturday, celebration, joy, happiness, remembrance and honor were just some of the feelings swirling around.

Following the run University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill was the keynote speaker. He too suffers from epilepsy and is a family friend of the Hadley’s. After learning of Kaylie’s passing from a seizure, he took notice, took care of himself and began a crusade to bring awareness to epilepsy. While some of his speech was about epilepsy and football, he began by endorsing the community of Sleepy Eye.


In true form of coach he talked about mental toughness, though not in terms of football–but of the tragic events our community has endured and our resilience, positivity and faith.


“It says something about all of you and your faith and what you believe in,” he noted, adding, “This is a great day!”


Three months ago our community was rocked and brought to our knees in sorrow.


Saturday we were brought to our knees again–this time with a promise of hope, healing, honor, remembrance and joy.


Coach Kill couldn’t have said it any better. It was a great day indeed!