Color run highlights dark topic


With approximately one death every 11 minutes, suicide is a tragedy that has undoubtedly affected many members of this community and the families left behind. Saturday morning, Shawnee Family Health Center, Shawnee State University, and the Scioto County Suicide Prevention Coalition joined forces to host an annual 5k run to further their mission for suicide awareness and prevention.

This is year six for the annual event that typically draws a large crowd, and this year was no different. Suicide is a tribulation that often plagues rural communities such as this one, and this run is in memory of those who lost the battle.

The most recent installment in the annual race brought color to the dark topic that is suicide.

Runners congregated near the starting line, anxiously awaiting their signal. The general feeling that something good was happening filled the air, as friends, families, and onlookers alike screamed and cheered for those giving their all to run for this cause. Signs along the route displayed facts and statistics about suicide for both athletes and onlookers to observe.

With cloudy skies, no precipitation, and temperatures in the low 70’s, Saturday morning provided an ideal climate for such an event.

As the tired runners began crossing the finish line, onlookers’ cheers continued in high volume. People called out excitedly to their loved ones, as the athletes completed the 5K. Runners finished the race looking like rainbows, as most chose to wear white in anticipation of the colorful powders that were thrown. The runners regrouped and celebrated amongst themselves near the finish line, drinking water and discussing the race. Bright dust coated many sections of Front Street and could be seen clinging to the air shortly after the event.

Later that morning, attendees were greeted by Holly Gail and Jay Hash, both emceeing the event. Live music by the Josh Stewart Band carried on for a portion of the morning. Crowd members waited patiently for the guest speakers, Ann Bridges and Kristen Livingston, to tell their personal experiences regarding suicide. Several local food trucks and vendors were in attendance, as well as community booths, costumed characters, therapy animals, information booths for resources regarding getting help. The Second Presbyterian Stigma Art Festival was also in attendance. There were plenty of activities for all, even those who did not participate in the 5K.

Suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States. On average, approximately 130 Americans die by suicide each day. According to the CDC, in 2020, suicide claimed more than twice as many lives as homicide and is also the 12th overall cause of death for Americans. Suicide is the second most common cause of death for U.S. citizens aged 25 to 34.

For as many people that commit suicide daily, there are many more that attempt the act everyday that go unreported.

All proceeds from the 5K go to the Scioto County Suicide Prevention Coalition and The Scioto Foundation Scholarship Fund.

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