Costumes make races (more) fun


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There’s something about running in costume that makes a marathon extra special. Mud runs like the Tough Mudder (see hilarious photos here) and zany fundraiser races like the Denver Gorilla Run encourage people to dress to impress while you break a sweat.

Heather Gardiner (pictured right), co-owner of Super Hero Events, a race-organizing business based in northern New Jersey, appreciates a good costume. Whether it’s pre-gaming it before Super Bowl XLVI at their Super Sunday 4 Miler on Feb. 5 (which is promised to be one of the most exciting winter races in the state with fun prize categories like “runner with the least clothing” and “runner with the craziest mustache”), or getting in touch with your superhero alter ego at the 2012 Superhero Half Marathon and Relay (they’re going for a world record for largest number of superheroes!), you’ll see why Super Hero Events’ mission is to get more people involved in running by putting on races that bring charisma and excitement to the sport.

Gardiner spoke with Hellawella about two upcoming races by Super Hero Events, her love of running and some tips for beginners.

How should people prepare for a race?
It’s good to keep with your usual routine. Don’t eat any strange foods before the race, and try to get a good night’s rest. For the 4-miler, we have a “polar bear” prize to the person wearing the least clothing. If you are not competing for that prize, we recommend wearing good microfiber clothing that wicks sweat and keeps you warm and dry. Layers are good so that you can take some off prior to the race.

Any advice for beginners?
Take it slow and don’t get frustrated. As long as you keep at it, it will get easier!

Are you a runner? When did you start? How?
I started running when I was 14 to lose weight. I just ran on my own at first, and then a high school friend wanted to join the cross country team, so I did it with her and was immediately hooked.

How did you get started with Super Hero Events?
I’ve been a runner since high school and I manage a running store, so I know a lot about what runners like in a race. I was a marketing major in college so that has helped with the business end of it. My partner, Chris Russo, is also a runner. He participates in the group runs that we have at the store, and that’s how we met. We both felt that North Jersey could use a half marathon, and that’s how we got started.

What’s the details on the Super Sunday 4 Miler?
It’s a fun 4-mile race in downtown Morristown and a great way to burn off some calories before a big day of partying! We expect about 1,000 runners. We like to have races with a unique theme so we thought the Super Bowl Sunday would be perfect. Also, there are not many winter races around.

Tell me about the Super Hero. It sounds challenging!
The Superhero Half is the biggest half marathon in North Jersey. We hope to get 2,000 runners this year, and we are attempting to set a world record for most superheroes in one place. This area is hilly so it’s hard to have a totally flat course, but we did our best not to make it too hilly. There are lots of water stations, and it’s good for spectators since it’s a double loop.

Is it different from other races? How?
The superhero theme makes it fun and unique. A lot of people dress up so it makes it really entertaining to watch.

Click here to learn more about Super Hero Events and to register for the Super Sunday 4 Miler and Super Hero Half Marathon and Relay. Don’t forget to bring your alter ego!