Neighbors and nations came together Saturday morning at Ber Juan park for a 5K Color Run to benefit Missouri S&T’s 2017 Celebration of Nations.  Both local athletes and students from around the globe were pelted with color dust as they circled the perimeter of Ber Juan. The mood was festive and smiles were on every face before, during, and after the race; sunny skies were enhanced by music and flags of many nations adorned the start/finish point near the Splash Zone.
Runners and walkers from 7 to 63 years of age completed the three mile course with finish times ranging from less than 20 minutes to over an hour. Zhenchao Zu, age 26 and from China, was the first to cross the finish line.  Finish times were recorded by professional timing service Split Second Timing, of Rolla, one of the sponsors of the race.  
Other race sponsors included Acar Real Estate, Al West Chrysler, Phelps County Bank, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, Elissa’s Salon and Spa at Benton Square, First State Community Bank, and Rick Powell-Personal Trainer.
Emcee Roberta Morgan, Director of Programs for the Office of International and Cultural Affairs at MS&T, stated this was the second year for the run and the eighth year for Celebration of Nations.
“We are excited to promote this event for our community. Color splash is an international program based on Indian traditions which has taken on a whole new twist in the U.S. with color runs. Roberta continued,“It’s an opportunity for us to have fun in a healthy, family friendly event and celebrate the diversity that is rich in our community.”
Color run participants included Maksim Sorokin; Matt Snelson; Joshua Cruzada; Aaron Sawyer; Troy Benson; Chelsea Ehret; John and Henry Tellini; Marty Ayers; Joe Brookshire; Doug Roberts; Dave Westenberg; Josiah and Kelsey Nisbett; William Gillis; Makeda Beyene; Kate, Brett, Luke, and Camille Malavenda;  Vivek Rao; Ray Thareiz; Vivek Kesiveddy; Mary Gillis; Havva Malone; Manohar Shivashonkar; Bruce Volner; Taui Alzahi; Carter Knete; Mahal Hajjaj; Shashkanth Tatipelli; Anushka Thudimilla; Leatile Pule; Thiamo Tawele; Mary Reidmeyer; Ali Robertson; Jeanie Strain; Jane Haskell; Angela Webster; Patti Chism; Ann Reenwe; Zach Phelps; Sara Wilson; Asia Ellingsworth; Vonnie Dearlove; Michelle Sanders; Barbi Spencer; Tammy Volner; Patty Chism; Mary Danner, Mohamed Hanine; Deann Lewis; Rick Powell; Jill Price; and Zhenchao Zu.  
Monies raised from the color run help fund the Celebration of Nations, to be held on Sept. 30th in downtown Rolla. This free event will feature live music, a parade, crafts, international foods, and children’s activities, providing the opportunity to experience the cultures of other countries right here at home. For more information about Celebration of Nations, call 573 341-4335 or visit celebrate@mst.edu.