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April 11, 2017

Brave, stupid or both? Running in a costume begs a few questions

For six months, I wore a Wolverine costume my sweet mother crafted for me. I was seven years old.

Since then I’ve worn my fair share of costumes, but have been able to hold back from wearing them save for special events like Halloween, my 20th birthday party, and right now. I’m sitting in a shared public space, typing this article and wearing a Donatello outfit. Weird, I KNOW.

But, I have yet to run a race in a costume. Unless you count a uniform as a costume, which I could see you doing because a uniform does act as a shield to protect oneself from a true individual identity. By considering that option, though, you run the risk of falling down a rather slippery slope. You could extrapolate that argument so broadly to soon find yourself questioning the nature of clothes as a costume in our society. Soon, you could be working on a Master’s Thesis positing how culturally appropriate clothing is used to mask one’s most inner-self and thus we live in a society which, ostensibly, is just one, big Masquerade Ball. So don’t do that, and just take it from me that I have never raced in a costume.

Seeing as I have never run a race in a costume, or even felt so inclined to do so, I obviously fail to understand why anyone would do it. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to be in miserable pain and sweating through some sort of polyester-spandex blend. Racing hurts bad enough. I really don’t need to experience in a Torture Chamber of Chafing and covered in a previously unknown deadly body paint. But maybe I don’t want to experience these things because I’M NOT BRAVE?! Obviously, I’d like to think I’m brave. There are some nights where I don’t go to to Dairy Queen and that seems brave to me. All of this ultimately begs the question of whether or not costume racers are the bravest people we know of to exist on earth.

I think the easiest and most linear way to determine if this subset of humanity is brave or stupid is to make a list and then rank each list item on a scale of 1 (being as stupid as can be) to 10 (being Braveheart).


  1. They actively seek out membership to a marginalized group of people. (7)
  2. They are usually adults. This troubles me. (2)
  3. Occasionally, they actually do run fast. But maybe they are using the costume as a cop out instead of actually having run to their ability? The human mind can really cripple a person. (4)
  4. I laughed at this one. (8)
  5. Sometimes someone uses a costume to express how they see themselves in the mirror. In this case, we have a man named Andy who believes he is a rhino. I’m not here to tell Andy he isn’t a rhino. I think I love Andy. (12)
  6. Sometimes someone drags their friend into a camel costume and creates what must be mayhem on the marathon course. (1)

I’m not sure what we’ve learned from that list, but I’m pretty certain it’s nothing. Wearing a costume can be brave, stupid, brave while being stupid, or stupid while being brave. I guess what I want to say, is if you’re planning to wear a costume next week at the Boston Marathon, go for it. Fly your freak flag, baby! Run up Heartbreak Hill in whatever the hell you see fit, and remember you aren’t alone.

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