Known for suiting up as Batman and running five marathons, JP Hernandez knows a few things about running in a costume. Hernandez, along with other Toronto runners raced and raised funds for SickKids VS for several years as a part of the Justice League run crew. Even though his days of sporting a Batman costume at a running even are behind him, we asked Hernandez for his best advice when choosing the costume.
ONE: Going the distance
First things first, Hernandez recommends looking at the distance you’re running and taking that into consideration simply because you won’t need to spend a lot of money if you’re racing shorter distances like the SuperPower 5K. That said, if you’re considering running a half marathon or longer, he recommends thinking of 21k or longer, then definitely invest in a costume that also has some type of technical fabric. “I'd recommend finding compression bottoms to keep lactic acid from building while running, and a good long or short sleeve moisture-wicking top, depending on the hero your dressing up as,” he says. And above all, “every piece of fabric should be as light as possible.”
TWO: Fact not Friction
Beyond moisture-wicking fabric, the texture, fit and feeling of the costume fabric is just as important, especially if you want to prevent chaffing. "I can't stress this enough," he says, "Running with a rubber cowl, gloves, and utility belt was hard enough but when you add extra fabrics you don't normally run with you'll be in trouble." No matter what distance you're running Hernandez strongly recommends applying a product such as Body Glide which helps prevent chaffing no matter what you're wearing.
THREE: Fun on the Run
While you want to be comfortable, wearing a costume is supposed to be fun. This may not be the time to be talking about scoring a PB at a race (or maybe it is) but this is about gearing up as your favourite superhero and really enjoying the moment. "The rubber cowl I wore was hands down the most uncomfortable costume piece I wore," says Hernandez. "It wasn't breathable and it made it hard to hear people but I have no regrets because I went for the theatrics of the costume, and I embraced it." As Hernandez can relate, there's something about cheering superheros from the sidelines, even if you're not running it gives you a sense of belonging that's as much about the running community as it is about community spirit. "Hearing spectators call you Batman, giving out high fives - these moments were worth wearing the costume," he says. Its that connection that is irreplaceable, and what really brings out the superhero in us all.