In 2010, thousands of people dashed through Portland dressed as rabbits, mad hatters and Cheshire cats. Last year, they ditched their teacups for torn pants and blood-spattered shirts and were driven through town by an endless hunger for brains.
This year, Portland will be overrun with superheroes. The ninth annual Run Like Hell costumed half-marathon will pit Spiderman against Catwoman, Green Lantern against Wolverine, the Hulk against Thor, and Batman against no one—because he’s Batman.
Run Like Hell is a Halloween-themed half-marathon, 10K and 5K, that takes place Oct. 21. It also features a half-mile route just for kids, called Run Like Heck, held on the same day. Run Like Hell will once again lead thousands of costumed runners and walkers through the city as a benefit for the ALS Association, a nonprofit organization helping to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Runners will meet near Pioneer Courthouse Square, where the route begins. From there, Portland’s men of steel and wonder women will run faster than a speeding bullet through the city and its parks.
Half-marathon runners with be led down Naito Parkway and Barbur Boulevard, along George Hines Park, up through Terwilliger and Duniway parks, then back down toward Pioneer Square. The 10K and 5K runners will be treated to lovely views of the waterfront, followed by a zigzag dash through downtown.
Michelle Foster, a two-time Run Like Hell participant, warns participants to take costumes into serious consideration.
For 2010’s Alice in Wonderland theme, she dressed as Alice and ran alongside her boyfriend, who used large poster board to become the three of hearts playing card. “I was worried about wind resistance for him,” Foster said. “Turns out it was the drizzle I should have been worried about, with his not-so-waterproof paint.”
For 2011’s zombie theme, she dressed as an uninfected human, so the zombies would have something to chase. “Being chased by a mob of zombies really is motivational,”
This year, organizers hope that being a superhero for a day will be just as motivating. And as any good city should, Portland will celebrate its superheroes’ feats with a super shindig. Live music, free beer and food await all participants at the Run Like Hell afterparty.
So dig out your tights, capes and cowls, Portland—it’s time to Run Like Hell.
Registration is open until the day of the race, but the price increases for day-of registrants. You can register online at terrapinevents.com/run-like-hell-portland_register.htm.
Start times for each race vary.