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SUNY Broome Hosts 2nd Annual Color Run to Benefit MHAST

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A traditional run is bringing lots of color to the SUNY Broome Campus.

This morning more than 5,500 people came out to Binghamton's 2nd annual Color Run benefiting the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier.

The event serves as more than just a race to one local participant.

It's considered "the happiest 5K on the planet" and Shannon Barnum couldn't agree more. She's returning to the race with her husband Chris.

"It's nice, nice to be able to share this activity together," said Friendsville, Pennsylvania resident Shannon Barnum.

Barnum says the race helps her cope with one of the toughest times in her life.

"Last year was the one-year milestone after my mother passed away. I decided to get healthy, so I'll probably do it every year just to be healthy and keep fit," said Barnum.

The Binghamton Color Run is an untimed race that helps benefit those suffering from mental illnesses.

According to mental health officials one in four people in the Southern Tier experiences mental illness and today's event is helping to put some color on the situation.

"It's stigmatized, it's kind of put in the closet, so to speak. It needs to be talked about more, brought out into the forefront. More education needs to be out there so people understand," said recovery coach at Southern Tier Mental Health Association Donna Parmer.

And officials are making sure education is fun and colorful. Participants start with a clean shirt and are doused with colorful cornstarch throughout the course for a finish with lots of color.

"It's really fun, running a lot, exercise and colors all over you. I'm going to keep this shirt," said Binghamton resident Phillip Neville.

Barnum says she's glad to be able to run.

"It has improved my mental health, running has. When I get a little cranky he tells me to go for a run," said Barnum.

Binghamton's Color Run was made up of several local sponsors including: Visions, KC Construction and Broome County Volunteer Emergency Squad. For more information on the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier head to www.yourmha.com.