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'Rain or shine, it’s powder time!': JB5K celebrates 20th year


A runner passes through the third color station Oct. 26 during the Color Run. The JB5K, which was created 20 years ago in remembrance of IU student and Campus Recreational Sports employee Jill Behrman, began and ended Saturday at the SRSC. Anna Tiplick

The clouds dulled the sky to a rolling grey, and the rain poured onto the concrete. The droplets dripped from the roof of the SRSC, slid down the top of multicolored umbrellas and bounced off the rain ponchos of the volunteers and attendees of the 20th Jill Behrman 5K Run.

The JB5K, which was created 20 years ago in remembrance of IU student and Campus Recreational Sports employee Jill Behrman, took place Saturday at the SRSC.

The money raised from the race contributes to the Jill Behrman Emerging Leaders Scholarship, which awards $1,000 each to two full-time undergraduate students who have been involved in Campus Recreational Sports for at least one year and have exhibited leadership on campus or in their community. Jill’s parents wrote the criteria for the scholarship, race director Chris Geary said. 

At 10:30 a.m. SRSC staff members led the runners in a Zumba warm up. While some dancers stood huddled under the shallow edge of roof in front of the double doors, others followed the leaders in green ponchos as they stepped out and together, rolled their hips, grape-vined to the left, then to the right, jumped up and down and encouraged people to get moving.

“Everyone come out!” said Jim Jamriska, assistant director for member services and parking operations and emcee for the day, into a microphone. “You’re not not gonna get wet today!”

After 30 minutes of either dancing in the drizzle or shivering under the SRSC entryway, the participants were ushered down the steps to watch the a cappella group Ladies First perform the National Anthem and then start the race with the announcement, “Let’s get this party started!”

 The participants, followed by Marilyn Behrman, Jill’s mother, filed through two flags with IU Recreational Sports onto the course. 

Throughout the race, runners ran through five color zones, where they were splashed with cakey chalk dust. They also ran past various entertainers such as the Pizza X music truck and student groups such as the Hoosierettes and D-Force Dance Club.

The race was shortened from 2.8 to 2 miles due to rain, Geary said. 

“We decided to cut off the central campus part for safety reasons,” Geary said. “It’s always a risk when you do outdoor events. Twenty years and this is the worst weather we’ve ever had, though.”

About 400 of the around 1,000 registered participants showed up for the race, which was incredible considering the weather, Geary said. 

“I just want everyone that came out in the rain to have a great time,” Geary said. “It doesn’t matter how many are here, as long as they all have fun.” 

Freshman Makailah Govan said she signed up because she thought it looked like fun, and it was for a great cause. She decided to come despite the rain because she heard the color from the chalk dust would be even more vibrant this year. 

“The lady said the color would stick, and I wanted some color,” Govan said. 

During rain-free days, the chalk dust that is thrown does stick to shirts, but it is much more likely to shake off of the runners as they jog from one color station to the next. The rain caused the chalk to have a thicker consistency and stickier properties. 

As a result, this year’s participants looked more colorful than ever before. 

When the participants had circled back to the finish line, a feast of Bucceto’s pizza, Baked! of Bloomington cookies, hot chocolate, bananas, Kind bars, water and ham and turkey sandwiches awaited them. Participants were also invited inside the SRSC to take pictures with the JB5K signs, warm up and peruse pamphlets about the race. 

At 11:30 a.m. SRSC staff members and a few straggling participants met out in the SRSC loading dock for a final dance party. The stage, set up with plastic wrap still covering the speakers, sat unused as the instructors led around 20 people to songs such as “Uptown Funk.” The dance party was cut short by seven minutes.

The original schedule had included the announcement of team awards and a final color release. Both were canceled. 

Even though the rain affected the race day events, Marilyn Behrman said the 20th race was special because of the way people still stayed positive through the cold and the rain. 

If it was raining any other day, Marilyn said, she would have stayed inside. Instead, she said, she had a great Saturday morning. 

“Just seeing all of the volunteers and the student staff that help run this through their committee, come out and have such a good time on a bad weather day,” Behrman said. "It's always special."

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