, Salem, MA

October 11, 2012

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

On The Run Jay Kumar
The Salem News

---- — 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.

Why do people run in costume? Because they like the attention, and because it’s fun. For all the runners who stress over their split times and carefully monitor their water and sodium intake during a race, you’ve got folks who are just out there to have a good time. It doesn’t hurt that a lot of them, like Adam Campbell, are already good runners, so they don’t have to worry about that aspect of the day.

I just know that if I ever ran in a full costume, I would totally overheat and be miserable. When I start a road race, I get into race mode and just focus on doing well. But I’m not so serious that I can’t enjoy seeing someone else rocking a costume, like the guy I saw running the New York Marathon on a near 80-degree day in a full tuxedo. Hey, somebody’s got to do it. I’m just glad it’s not me.

Starts and stops

Sure, we’re not even at Halloween yet, but it’s not too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Specifically, running on Turkey Day before you dig in to the feast with your family. The 9th annual Wild Turkey 5-Mile Run takes place at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22 at the Boys & Girls Club, 13 Hawthorne Blvd, Salem. Sponsored by the New England Running Company and Brooks Sporting Company, the Wild Turkey is the largest race on the North Shore. The first 1,150 entrants receive long sleeve Brooks tech shirts. Visit to register. Post-race refreshments, awards and raffles will be hosted at the Boys & Girls Club. For more information, call Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem at 978-744-0915 or e-mail Doug Bollen at


On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to

Upcoming races

Saturday, Oct. 13: The third annual Rotary Run the Heater 5K Run/Walk takes place on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8:30 a.m. on Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Proceeds benefit the Manchester Parks and Recreation Scholarship Fund and causes supported by the Manchester-Essex Rotary Club. Visit for more information; Landmark School 5K & Fun Run, Ansara Athletic Center at Landmark High School, 447 Hale Street, Prides Crossing, 10:30 a.m. Includes prize money, tech t-shirt for first 150 registrants, free fun run. Contact: Jeffrey Fauci (Landmark School) at 1-978-236-3367 or; Northeast Arc Run, Walk or Roll 2012 5K, Holten Richmond Middle School, Plains Park, Danvers, 11:30 a.m. Contact: Cheryl French (Northeast Arc) at 1-978-624-2497 or

Sunday, Oct. 14: All five of Beverly’s elementary schools benefit from the upcoming third annual Fall Frolic 5K, which takes places on Sunday, Oct. 14 at Lynch Park in Beverly. The fun run starts at 9 a.m. and the 5K at 9:30 p.m. along the same route as the Beverly Homecoming 5K. The first 200 5K registrants receive shirts and awards are given to the top male and female finishers and medals to the top three in each age group. Visit for more information and to register online; 10th Annual Ravenswood Trail Race, Magnolia Woods Soccer Fields, Western Ave., Gloucester, 9 a.m. A 4.1-mile trail race over a mix of carriage road and single track. Contact: Jennifer Brooks (Team Gloucester) at 1-978-290-1859 or; Rockin Mad 5K Challenge, Lynn Woods, 62 Great Woods Road, Lynn, 11 a.m. A trail run through Lynn Woods with 20 obstacles. Contact: Ashley Steeves (BNS EVENT MANAGEMENT) at 1-978-836-0271 or; The 33rd annual Topsfield Fall Foliage 5-Mile Classic, The Proctor School, 60 Main Street, Topsfield, 1:30 p.m. Beautiful certified 5 mi. course with fun run and walk. Contact: Lisa M. Foley (Topsfield Boxford Middleton Rotary Club) at 1-978-774-9774 or

Wednesday, Oct. 17: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail

Thursday, Oct. 18: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact

Sunday, Oct. 21: 1st Annual Paws for a Cause 5K Dog Walk, Beverly Commons, 23 Essex St., Beverly, 11 a.m. Includes a 5K run or walk with your dog (optional) also includes a shorter route. Contact: Paws for a Cause (Guardians of Rescue) at 1-978-998-0794 or; Miles for Kyle / 7th Annual 5K Run / 1M Walk for Epilepsy, Preston Beach Park, Atlantic Avenue, Swampscott, 10 a.m. Cash Prizes for top 3 M/F Runners - Race Shirts for first 150 registrants. Contact: Mark (Miles For Kyle) at 1-781-215-1625 or; Stone Tower Trail Run # V, Lynnfield Street entrance to Lynn Woods (near Gannon Golf Course) off Route 129, Great Woods Road, Lynn, 9 a.m. To benefit the preservation of Lynn Woods. Contact: William Liam Brady (Stone Tower Events) at 1-978-762-3994 or; Witch City 5K Road Race, Salem Willows, One Sewall St., Salem, 9 a.m. Contact: Elizabeth Schultz (Salem YMCA) at 1-978-740-9622 or

Visit for more race listings.