AMESBURY — City officials will soon be meeting with representatives from Amesbury Sports Park to assess the handling of The Color Run, which brought more than 15,000 runners to the city over the weekend.
Billed as “the happiest 5K on the planet,” the event raced through the streets of Amesbury both Saturday and Sunday — traveling from Merrill Street along Point Shore and the Merrimack River, down Beacon Street and Route 150 to Hunt Road and the sports park.
Considered the largest race ever hosted by the community, the event was not only unique in its size but in its design — with runners pelted with colored dye in the form of cornmeal powder at every kilometer, resulting in their clothing looking tie-dyed by the finish line.
While Sunday’s installment, with a decidedly smaller crowd by about a third, went off without a hitch after some logistical changes were made, Saturday’s run was a different story — due in large part to an accident that shut down a portion of Interstate 495 during a key time in the event.
The city was already dealing with race-related road closures and a high volume of beach traffic typical for a summer weekend when traffic had to be rerouted onto local roads because of the accident, creating a logistical nightmare for Amesbury police and event organizers, officials said.
The tie-ups stalled traffic on Route 110 and delayed the frequency of the bus shuttles on hand to bring participants from the race finish line at the sports park back to their vehicles parked at satellite lots in Seabrook and Haverhill. As a result, runners had to wait around longer at the sports park than they were prepared to.
Meredith Robinson, director of sales for Amesbury Sports Park, said the police department was very helpful making the necessary adjustments on Saturday and that things went much more smoothly on Sunday when conditions in the area were more typical.