Run or Dye Santa Barbara paints the town (pick a color)

Run or Dye - Santa Barbara

Saturday’s Run of Dye 5k attracted thousands to UCSB’s campus. Many of the dye stations featured gold and blue, the school colors for UCSB’s Gauchos.

Click on this image to find an extended photo gallery from Saturday. (Presidio Sports photos and artwork)

Click on this image to find an extended photo gallery from Saturday. (Presidio Sports photos and artwork)

Saturday’s massive turnout for the first-ever Run or Dye event in Santa Barbara arrived clean, ready for a highly anticipated splash of fun.

Nearly 8,000 participants left looking far more colorful, with each individual showing off a new look that would make a bag of Skittles blush.

Santa Barbara local Anthony Evans finished the untimed fun run and felt great despite being completely blue in the face.

“Just getting sprayed and dyed, that was a lot of fun,” Evans said.

Roughly half chose to mostly walk the 5k course that looped through the UCSB campus. Several “dye stations” lined the course, where volunteers would shower the runners/walkers with liberal amounts of corn-starch based color dyes.

By the time contestants reached the finish line, all were covered with various amounts and patterns of color.

Anthony Evans' post-race look.

Anthony Evans’ post-race look.

“Just close your eyes and hold your breath, you never know what to expect,” Evans advised.

Evans found himself almost completely blue at the end, which contrasted nicely with his purple and yellow sombrero.

And for those who did not get enough on the course, an after-party with dance music and more dye ensured total immersion.

There were many reasons for all who showed up but the common thread was that all were there to have fun.

And that they did.

Most were from the tri-county area of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. The Santa Barbara Run or Dye event, one of dozens on a national tour, is the only one on the Central Coast this year.

Polo Torres - Run or Dye Santa Barbara

Recent Santa Barbara High graduate Polo Torres used the occasion to celebrate his 18th birthday.

Santa Barbara resident Polo Torres was there with family and friends to celebrate his 18th birthday. Torres was one of nearly a dozen individuals celebrating their birthdays.

“This is awesome,” Torres said. “They should bring this to Santa Barbara every year.”

Tammy Yates, another birthday girl from Ojai, came dressed in a group all dressed in tutus to make merry on her 50th birthday.

The event benefits UCSB’s Alumni Scholarship Fund, which provides financial aid to in-need students. The Alumni Association hoped to raise at least $12,500 for scholarships and?was busy handing out free t-shirts to UCSB students and alumni at the race.

“It’s really just to engage our Gaucho community, to raise that awareness to get them to come to our alumni booth and chat with us about what our alumni fund is really about,” explained Christina Yan, the Membership and Donor Relations Coordinator. “A lot of people don’t even realize that this race today is raising funds for that so we really want to get it out there.”

Two of the dye stations were exclusively Gaucho colors of blue and gold.

KEYT’s local sports anchor Mike Klan and former KEYT news reporter Sara Bush crossed the finish line together.

“I’d say more than half were walking so we turned it into an obstacle course because we kept dodging people,” Klan said. “But there were a lot of people just sitting on the sidelines clapping and waving. It was cool.”

The huge crowd was released in waves onto the course. A dozen or so waves unleashed hundreds of runners each. Like Disneyland or Magic Mountain, many had to wait for more than an hour for their turn. But few seemed to mind.

A runner takes a blast of dye to the face on Saturday.

A runner takes a blast of dye to the face on Saturday.

“I’m just looking forward to the end to seeing all the color and seeing what happens to everybody. That’s kind of the best part,” said Will Roach from Ventura while waiting in line.

He said he expected to be in the final wave, which meant almost two hours of standing in lines.

“We’re committed now. It’s the point of no return,” Roach said.

Marvella Basilio and friends were caught off-guard.

“This is our first time and we didn’t think the line was going to be this long,” said Basilio, but without any hint of anger.

The line remained festive and the waiting helped build the anticipation. Once on the course, the first dye station arrived within a couple hundred feet. From the start point, the runners and walkers went past Harder Stadium, the Thunderdome, Faculty Club, and the Lagoon before making their way back to same parking lot next to Storke Field for the finish.

Most stuck around for awhile after completing the run, taking group pictures or seeking out more dye at the after-party. By noon, the parking lot had cleared while breakdown and cleanup operations had begun.

Run or Dye Team

A group of staff members and subscribers from participated together in an unofficial tribute to Edhat’s late founder Peter Sklar.