Local Students Helping Rainbow

The Rainbow Run founders
Madison Asher and Kennedy Ricci

Join the 5th annual Rainbow Run benefiting UH Rainbow Babies & Children's on Saturday, July 15.

The Rainbow Run is a colored powder race featuring a 5K run and a 2K walk. Each kilometer throughout the race, color powder is thrown on the participants transforming everyone into a rainbow at the finish line. Event founders, Madison Asher and Kennedy Ricci, were recently interviewed about the history of the event, their recent accomplishments, and information on how to register for the upcoming run.

When and where is the 2017 Rainbow Run?

This year's Rainbow Run is returning to Gilmour Academy (2045 SOM Center Rd, Gates Mills, OH) on Saturday, July 15, 2017.

Where can we find more information about The Rainbow Run?

Our website has all the relevant information about the race: www.rainbowruncleveland.com.

How much does it cost to participate?

If you pre-register, it costs $30 to run in the 5K and $20 to walk in the 2K. The first 300 registrants receive a free t-shirt as well!

How old were you when you started The Rainbow Run?

We were 17 years old and seniors in high school at Gilmour Academy when we began planning for the first Rainbow Run. We held the first run the summer after we graduated. 

Have you graduated from college? If so, where did you attend and what did you study?

We have both graduated from college now. Madison graduated with a degree in Advertising and Graphic Design from Xavier University and Kennedy graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Accountancy and a major in Theology.

Did your fundraising experience with your company, Benevolenza Fundraising, influence your area of study in college?

Definitely! Kennedy had more of an interest in the finances when he started, so he tracked our revenues and expenses and compiled the financial report at the end. Being able to do real accounting work like that was great experience and was definitely helpful in his college career. Madison always did more of the design work and similarly it helped her to develop her passion and experience in graphic design.

The Rainbow Run isn't a typical 5K race. How did you come up with the idea for the run?

Kennedy was actually in a class that required a capstone community project. The professor said that we could do anything that we wanted. At the same time, we had seen the growing popularity of other fun color powder runs and so we wanted to plan a race like that. We thought a color run would be a perfect fit for Rainbow Babies & Children's, considering the name, so we proposed that as the class project. However, our teacher hated the idea and immediately shot it down, to the disappointment of the entire class. We had already been planning fundraisers by that point though, so we decided that we would do the event anyway outside of the class. So we spearheaded the project and many of our first volunteers were students from that class. Five years later, the event is still going strong. After this year, the event will have seen nearly 2,000 participants run and volunteer, while helping raise over $100,000 for the hospital.

What inspired you to want to raise money for UH Rainbow Babies & Children's?

Kennedy's brother has been a patient of Rainbow for over 15 years, but Rainbow was the first cause that the entire class thought of for this event. It seemed like a perfect fit for the type of event we had imagined.

How much money has been raised to date from this event?

We have raised $88,000 over the last four years and we are passing the $100,000 mark with this year's event already!

What are different ways that community members can get involved with The Rainbow Run?

We are always in need of volunteers, and it is honestly a very fun event to work because you get to throw color powder at people as they run! But helping us to get the word out is equally important since we are always looking for opportunities to grow the event!

Do you have plans to continue this event in the future?

With how much the event has continued to grow and be enjoyed, we are planning to keep the event going. However, we are both moving in the fall so we are looking for other students who are interested in joining the planning committee to help take over some of our responsibilities.

For more information about the event, visit The Rainbow Run website or contact Kennedy Ricci at riccik@benevolenzafundraising.com.