A couple of weeks ago I ran my 3rd consecutive Hollywood Half Marathon. I'm normally the type of person who just shows up for a race in my normal running clothes, is all business and then heads home.
About two weeks prior to the race there was a huge controversy in the running community as the magazine "Self" ran a horrible picture on their "BS List" knocking women for wearing Tutu's while running. Not only did the magazine ask the person in the picture for their picture, they didn't say what the picture was for and they apparently failed to realize that this person was going through chemotherapy while training for this particular race.
* photo below courtesy of Monika Allen
You can read all about the magazine article here.
As a husband and father I was pretty upset by the entire thing, a magazine that is supposed to be promoting a good "Self" image of women is ridiculing them. People run for different reasons. Not everybody is going to run a marathon in 3 hours, not everybody is going to qualify for the Boston Marathon or even wants to. People run for different charities, for loved ones who can't or just to have a great time. But out of something like this came a great awareness of the real issue and the charity behind the above picture, Girls on the Run.
So I decided that in a show of support I'd wear a Tutu for the Hollywood Half Marathon. And then I got the idea to dress up as a Minion in a Tutu. Not soon after a few friends said that if I did and got photographic proof that they would make a donation to Girls on the Run. How could I say no?
And here's the proof. =)
So here's my story.
As a member of Team Superhero my duty is to promote Superhero Events to the best of my ability. Why I chose to be a member of Team Superhero has to do with two people, Ken and Sabrina Nwadike. I first met Ken while running the Santa 2 the Sea Half Marathon in 2011. He was pushing his infant son in a stroller and despite having to stop a few times to tend to his son, he passed me more than once and we shared a kind word each time and then we spent a few minutes talking at the finish.
Little did I know he was the Race Director for the Hollywood Half Marathon that I had recently signed up for. Ken and I became Facebook friends and as soon as Team Superhero began he asked me to join. The thing that makes Ken and Sabrina's events so great are their sense of community and that most of their races are about "fun". Sure people are competitive, sure there are elite runners but these two have a way of letting every runner know they are important.
So while I would normally wear a "Team Superhero" shirt for this race, it was quickly accepted by our "team" that me wearing a Tutu was a great representation of what Team Superhero is all about.
Below, "Team Superhero" at the Hollywood Half Marathon. As you can see we aren't your normal running team.
After leaving the house at some ungodly early hour we made our way to the start line and the person who's usually in the background, maybe taking a few pictures with friends was all of a sudden getting asked repeatedly to get their picture taken.
Once the race started I was purely in "business" mode. I wanted to prove to Self Magazine that the Tutu wasn't going to make me faster per se', but it sure wasn't going to make me slower.
Then something began to happen. For the first 9 miles of the race I was setting a Personal Record (PR). And not just by 2 or 3 minutes, by 10 minutes. I was on pace to completely shatter my PR.
But then something else started to happen, something that was VERY "Team Superhero". You see, Ken introduced a new thing for this years race, they are called "Course Angels". Basically these 5 amazing people were out there to encourage the runners. Not the ones at the front who always get the cheers, but the ones in the middle of the pack and at the back who always cross the finish line well after the hoopla of the winners is over.
They brought a party atmosphere to the course that had a lot of switch-backs, and a lot of chances to see the same people over and over.
Even though I wasn't a course angel, seeing a 6'1" guy running in a Tutu isn't something common and people started asking to take pictures with me. On any normal run when I was on pace to shatter my PR I would have been annoyed, but that wasn't the point of this day. I was there to have fun, and have fun I did. The last 4 miles I took pictures with a lot of different people. I have gotten comments on Facebook to this day of "Hey, I saw you and you helped me keep my pace".
At the end of the day I needed the official course angels to encourage me at the end and finished the race about 20 minutes slower than my PR. But it was the most fun I've ever had during a race.
To make up for it I did set a PR in a 10k I ran the very next day.
More information about Girls on the Run
More information about Superhero Events and their upcoming races