Join in the colorful fun Saturday at Dover Downs International Speedway. What's it all about? Read on ...

Run or Dye

Just listening to the words, they sound pretty ominous.

But if you read the words, they sound intriguing – and sorta fun.

That’s exactly the intent.

Run or Dye Dover 2013 is a fun 5K event planned for this Saturday at the Dover International Speedway, where participants can get in a little exercise and get doused in colorful dye at the same time.

“It’s a combination of things,” said event director Andy Hayford. “It’s to promote fitness, but also to get people out and have a good time. A lot of people come out with their friends or family.”

The event is billed as the most colorful 5K run in the world. But you don’t have to run, or even be in good shape to participate.

“It’s strictly a fun run, not a timed event,” Hayford said. “A lot of our participants are first-timers at organized events. We’re out to promote fitness.

“People aren’t coming out to give their personal best,” he added. “You can walk, you can run, you can crawl. It’s all about having fun.”

Dover area residents who want to participate, but not necessarily run or walk can sign up through the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware to work as volunteers.

They’re the ones who get to throw the dye packets at the runners/walkers.

Run or Dye makes a monetary contribution to the Boys & Girls Club for every volunteer who signs up, said Club Development Director Margaux Azzanesi.

“It’s something that really has the potential to help our youth development programs,” she said. “Run or Dye reached out to us for help and asked us to be their non-profit partner.”

The Boys & Girls Club will use the money for their before- and after-school programs in Dover, which offers a number of educational programs for school-age children as well as a safe place where they can stay after school.

Even though the event is tomorrow, there’s still time to sign up as a volunteer, Azzanesi said. Interested parties can go to; when applying, be sure to use code RODBGCD10. That will ensure the Boys & Girls Club receives proper credit for each volunteer.

Volunteers also may sign up at Dover International Speedway on the day of the event, she said.

Although records of this type of event – including getting showered with dye – can be traced to ancient times, Run or Dye only kicked off in March 2013. There usually are two events per weekend in different parts of the country. Dover’s Run or Dye has a twin happening in Abilene, Texas.

Run or Dye provides white T-shirts, although participants can wear any color. Most agree, however, that white is the best. This means you can pull out an old wedding dress or even your disco-era “Saturday Night Fever” suit and put it to good use.

The dye is food-grade, FDA-approved cornstarch, so it washes right out of clothing and off skin and hair, Hayford said. Those who don’t get enough dye during the run/walk will get a second chance at the end, with a giant Finish Festival at the end, where everyone gets a packet of colorful cornstarch and gets to toss it at anyone they want. There also will be music, food and an MC.

“It’s all hard to describe,” Hayford said. “You’ll really just have to be there.”