If you've ever taken part in a large running event, or at least witnessed one on TV such as the London Marathon, then it's likely you will have seen the array of fancy dress runners who opt to ignore the usual running dress code. An increasing number of people are ditching the normal running gear and going in for costume running.
You may well have convinced yourself that running a marathon is difficult enough without saddling yourself with several pounds in weight worth of costume, or at worst being the back end of a donkey. So what is the motivation for running in fancy dress?
Motivation for running in fancy dress
It is often suggested by the average runner that the costume running brigade are a bunch of attention seekers that only run in their crazy costumes or fancy dress so that they can be the centre of attention. Others assume that runners dress up because they aren't great runners anyway and this is a good way of disguising their slow race times. The assumption is, if you aren't fast, then this is your way of getting in the limelight.
For most of the costume runners, this is simply not the case. Many of those saddled with a hefty costume, be it a rhino, over-large nurse outfit, or even Fred Flinstone, are generally super-fit athletes. After all, you have to be to carry that little lot for 26.2 miles or over 42km! As for the suggestion that they wish to hog the limelight; many are actually keen to shy away from the limelight although they are more than happy to get some publicity for the charity cause they are representing.
Of course, many fancy dress runners do enjoy the profile that they can sometimes get through being a costume runner, but this is product of being a costume runner rather than the very reason for wanting to do it. It doesn't take a genius to work that out - after all there are much easier of getting publicity than busting your ass over a marathon course.
Doing it for the challenges
There are plenty of reasons for running in costume, the majority being based around wanting a different running challenge. Many costume runners have run plenty of marathons before and are now trying to push themselves that bit more.
Others run in costume to try and raise the profile of the charity they are running for or the business that is backing them. For some runners, costume running is just another way of enjoying the race itself. Running in costume gives you a different experience and relationship with the crowd which you wouldn't get as a regular ‘vest and shorts’ runner.
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