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October 11, 2012

On The Run: Racing in costume takes a special kind of runner

It’s the time of year to start thinking about costume. Whether you’re heading to Salem on Oct. 31, going to a Halloween party or taking your kids out trick or treating. But the same can be said for runners, and not just the ones who are running Halloween-themed races like the Witch City 5K and the Devil’s Chase in Salem.

I’m running in the Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K this weekend, where many runners (but not me) will be dressed in traditional German garb such as lederhosen and dirndls. Zombie-themed races such as the recent Running Dead event in Salem have become popular, and runners really go all out with the makeup and costumes.

Over the weekend, Adam Campbell of Victoria, British Columbia, set a new world record for running a marathon in a business suit with a time of 2:35:53 at the Victoria Marathon, according to the Times Colonist. Putting aside the fact that somehow there is a world record for this feat, Campbell managed to finished sixth overall in the race and beat the previous record by nearly 50 minutes.

Campbell wore an off-the-rack suit and cotton dress shirt, which was buttoned all the way up with a tightly knotted tie. He told Runners World that the heat made him nauseous the last eight miles of the marathon, but kept dumping water on himself to cool down.

Campbell’s certainly not the first person to run a marathon in full costume, and he won’t be the last. The Boston Marathon attracts folks in all sorts of wacky outfits, from gorilla suits to superhero costumes to Neil Bernstein of Swampscott, who runs every year with a replica of Pesky’s Pole on his head. Earlier this year, a man ran the race with a giant toothbrush strapped to his back.

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