Paint The Run
"The number of youth taking their lives due to mental health is shocking. I have lost friends, acquaintances and seen/heard of so many tragic loses. And I don’t actually blame them, I blame the society."- Diane Nthurima
The first time I heard about Paint The Run festival, I was in complete awe at the powerful message behind the initiative. When the team behind the event reached out to me for support in the fitness activities for this year's festival, I was excited! In the last few months leading to the big day, I have gotten to learn so much about the powerful message behind the festival and a lot more from the founder; Diane Nthurima. Here is what she had to say about PTR 2018.
What is the rationale behind 'Paint The Run'?
Paint The Run is Kenya’s first ever Color Run and Festival, incorporated in 2016, but the first event took place in April 2017. The event consists of a color fun run of 3.5 to 5 km and the festival entails food, music and activities. The whole event is premised under three principles; Harmony, Well-Being and Bliss. Harmony is all about creating and promoting a culture of harmony in Kenya with regard to relationships, mindset, support and co-existence. Well-being is about creating and promoting awareness of healthy and positive living. Bliss is about putting a smile on everyone’s face with no regard to physical, social or mental demographic.
Each year, the focus is on one of the principles, with our first event in 2017 being focused on Harmony with the aim of promoting unity and peace amongst Kenyans, in the run to the 2017 Kenyan elections. 2018 will focus on Well-being with a huge focus on mental health and wellness. Next year, we might focus on Happiness. Our aim is to keep changing the focus so that we ensure we are touching on all current issues or situations happening in Kenya.
Why did you start the initiative?
Our aim was to change perceptions. We wanted to bring something different, something new and something unique. We wanted to give people a new experience with events as opposed to the typical events we as Kenyans are used to. We wanted to change perceptions of the event industry while supporting a cause, or to raise awareness of an ongoing or current issue. We wanted Paint The Run to be known for not just being a fun and different event, but an event with an impact. Its all about changing the perceptions of people regarding current issues or situations that we are facing in Kenya.
This year's theme will be Mental Health. Why is mental awareness so important to you?
I almost lost a very close family member to mental health a couple of years ago. I was a bit young so I didn’t understand what was going on but as I’ve grown, I’ve started to understand mental health better. The number of youth taking their lives due to mental health is shocking. I have lost friends, acquaintances and seen/heard of so many tragic loses. And I don’t actually blame them, I blame the society. Because we shame them, make them inferior or like they are different, or not justified to be suffering from a mental illness. This is why we are losing so many young talented souls. What we don’t realize is that all they need is support, understanding and someone to talk to.
...The question is “What are we doing as a nation?" It all starts with you and me. Hence why for me, focusing on mental health for our 2018 edition was very important. This was my way of actually doing something. It was my way of standing up and speaking about what is currently tearing our youth apart.
...Additionally, this year I lost a close friend who had a struggle with mental health. I was hurt, speechless but most of all angry at myself because I felt I could have done something. Therefore, the focus on mental health this year is my way of remembering him. PTR 2018 will be in his remembrance especially considering we had always spoken of partnering together with our events businesses.
What should people expect for this year's event?
It will consist of a fun 5 km obstacle run and festival. So, come ready to overcome a few challenges as you get sprayed with color. As mentioned this theme this year is 'well-being'. The aim is to encourage mental and physical health among young people using fun activities which will challenge the participants’ mental and physical fitness and endurance while creating awareness of mental wellness.
...On top of that, expect lots of fun, games, great music, great vibes and lots of colour! P.S We have the biggest and most lit DJ's in Kenya; DJ Joe Mfalme and DJ Kace, so when I say it’s going to be crazy hyped, you can see what I mean. Lets just say, if you can still hear your fears, shift a gear. Paint The Run 2018 will be bigger and better.
What are the future plans for PTR?
The future is bright. It’s either we go big or we go home, and we are definitely going big. We will keep improving the event and getting better at it. We have a lot in store for you guys in the future. We also hope to expand and take PTR outside of Kenya. I have seen a lot, gained good experience at events, and ideas whilst living the United Kingdom. We are definitely going to do something amazing in the events industry in Kenya and in Africa. Watch out! That’s all I can say for now; so just stay tuned.
The festival will kick off on 2nd December, 2018 at Nairobi Arboretum from 11 am to 7 pm. If you want to release some endorphins whilst making new friends and supporting a powerful cause, then you need to show face in your running shoes! The 5 km obstacle run which will also have a boot-camp as a final treat courtesy of Z6 Cross Training. I hope to see you there and if you need a ticket for you and your friends, get in touch!
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