Running in Costume Yay or Nay? I say YAY!

Costumes are fun!!
Costumes are fun!!

Since I’ve started running, the concept of running in costume has really evolved and now has basically taken on a life of its own.

My first big race was the 2005 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and I honestly can’t remember what I wore (I swore I’d never run again!), but I do know there was no costume involved whatsoever.  I don’t even have pictures from that race – which may just be a mortal sin… but I digress – back to costumes.

Fast forward to 2010, I somehow got suckered back into running and this time chose the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Still no costume, but I did have a shiny new PR (which I’m still chasing today) and had been bit by the Disney race bug.

First Wine & Dine 2010 - sans costume
First Wine & Dine 2010 – sans costume

Next up was the Princess Half in 2011 with my daughter.  We dipped our toes into the idea of costumes by coordinating outfits and getting some tiaras.  We were edging into the world of racing in costume… very slowly…

Matched our colors and wore tiara's. Cute - but I needed more!
Matched our colors and wore tiaras. Cute – but not enough!

The next year we upped the game a little bit and dressed as Snow White and the Evil Queen and thus began my utter enchantment for running in costume.

Snow White and the Evil Queen - the addiction has begun!
Snow White and the Evil Queen – the addiction had begun!

It was this year that I was introduced to Sparkle Athletic skirts.  They help provide a bit of a feminine touch and since they come in just about every color of the rainbow, they work well with almost any costume.  I pretty much run in them at any race I’m at – Disney or not.  Its become “my thing” and admittedly I love the crowd support I get whenever I do.  Who doesn’t love to be cheered for!?  So really, whether you are running in costume or just wanna add a little sparkle to your run, I promise they’ll put a little pep in your step.

Sparkle Athletic skirts. This is my collection... I may have a slight problem.
Sparkle Athletic skirts. This is my collection… I may have a slight problem.
Me at a local race - why WOULDN't you wanna sparkle!?
Me at a local race – why WOULDN’t you wanna sparkle!?

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a hard core costumer… I kind of more show my Disney side and use colors and special accessories to let you know who I am.  But believe me when I say there are some runners who put their heart and soul into their costumes.  People’s creativity ASTOUNDS me.  All you have to do is google running costumes and you can prepare to be amazed!  Here is a photo of some fellow Mickey Miler teammates of ours who never fail to amaze us all with their costumes:

Our Mickey Miler teammates who go all out when it comes to costumes! They never cease to amaze me. Find them at:https://www.facebook.com/runalltheraces/timeline
Our Mickey Miler teammates who go all out when it comes to costumes! They never cease to amaze me. Find them at facebook.com/runalltheraces

Since our early Princess Days, my daughter and I have now run as Buzz & Woody, Peter Pan & Wendy and most recently Thor & Loki.  I’ve also gone solo to several races and have ranged in characters from Mrs. Incredible to Princess Leia.

Buzz & Woody. This ranks high on my list as one of my favorites.
Buzz & Woody. This ranks high on my list as one of my favorites.
Peter Pan & Wendy flew through the course!
Peter Pan & Wendy flew through the course!
Thor & Loki were storming the castle
Thor & Loki were storming the castle
Princess Leia at my first Disneyland race!
Princess Leia at my first Disneyland race!
Feeling incredible as Mrs. Incredible!
Feeling incredible as Mrs. Incredible!

You can also be a part of a group costume. I once was a part of a group that ran as the 101 Dalmatians! Yes, there were 101 of us… we each had the ability to make our costume our own but it was obvious that we were all in it together. Another time I was actually able to convince my whole extended family to run the most recent Princess 5K with me as the Toy Story Aliens. The cold weather curtailed some of it and we had to do a little adjusting but we all had a blast and to date, it’s still one of the most magical races I’ve had at Disney!

Had so much fun getting my whole family involved. It was freezing - but we were all smiling. Such a fun race!
Had so much fun getting my whole family involved. It was freezing – but we were all smiling. Such a fun race!

As you have probably guessed, my vote would be to always run in costume.  However, I would also advise that you give all costumes pieces a trial run before running your race, especially anything more than a 5K. Personally, I have found that I’m really not a fan of tutus per se, and if I’m wearing headgear, I need to know its going to stay put throughout my run. You don’t have to go all out, even just using the colors of specific characters can sometimes be enough. But as soon as you find what works for you when you run, the possibilities are endless!

I’ve found that the whole process of determining a race costume is almost as much fun as actually running in the costume! Figuring out who or what to be; determining if it’s for an individual or better suited for couples or groups; learning what works and what doesn’t; finding creative ways to add that little detail that just makes it all come together. The whole thing is just a great experience! There are multiple Facebook groups, bloggers, Etsy shops and running apparel stores that have all jumped into this costume craziness with two feet and offer not only great products, but great ideas to help make your costume choice your own.

If you are at all considering running in costume, I for one say go for it. Take lots of pictures and have a good time! And be sure to let me know how it works out! I never get tired of seeing people’s creativity! Happy running and happy costuming!

Donna Quackenbush

About Author:

Donna is a 40 something, empty nester who lives with her husband (and sometimes kids) in Maryland. She is a self professed Disney fanatic and really started running because she realized she could do it at Disney and therefore have another excuse to visit the parks. Other races came into the mix when she figured out she actually enjoyed the sport and could do it just about anywhere. Shenanigans (and costumes!) make running all the more exciting and enjoyable and she plans to continue running till she physically can't.

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