We began our search for a West Virginia race when we realized we could visit Amelia and Matt in Pittsburgh and easily make a side trip to West Virginia. After perusing the Running in the USA, website, our go-to website for finding races, we settled on the “Capes 4 a Cure” 5K presented by Hope 4 Hunter. The website encouraged participants to dress as our favorite super hero or villain and wear a cape. They even mentioned that there was a prize for the most creative cape. Challenge accepted! We began plotting our super hero identities and costumes. After a few ideas were canned, we settled on “Flower Power Girl” for me (Hannah’s brilliant idea) and “Fix-It Man” for Mike. I excitedly started sketching.
I worked hard to really depict the look I was going for.
I showed my sketch to Hannah and in less than 3 minutes she had created this rendering.
It captured my idea with a million times more flair and accuracy! I guess that’s what happens when a professional fashion designer does the sketch. After a trip to our local fabric shop, complete with Hannah taking a test run down an aisle with a bolt of fabric unfurled behind her to check for an adequate flying effect, we had our supplies. We spent a few evenings working on our costumes. Although he didn’t appear to be really into this task, the next thing I knew Mike had cut tools out of duct tape (of course) and taped them to his cape.
Hannah stepped in and sewed, painted, and created my costume.
We flew to Pittsburgh, checked into our hotel, and strolled around the area near our hotel before preparing our outfits for the next morning’s run. Mike sketched some hardware and his super hero identity on his t-shirt and I laid out my ensemble. Mike’s cape hung importantly in the closet. This was definitely the most unique night before a race prep we had ever done. What a blast!
The next morning we drove through the misty hills to West Virginia.
We easily located the start of the race at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater in Morgantown, West Virginia and encountered a runner’s dream come true! There was ample free parking at the event and real bathrooms directly across from our parking spot….with no lines! The amphitheater is right on the river. We could see volunteers setting up and quite a few purple Hope 4 Hunter capes. However, we didn’t notice any other runners wearing super hero outfits or capes. Undaunted, we picked up our numbers and packets and returned to the car to transform ourselves into our super hero characters. We even had enough time to pose for a few pictures prior to the race.
The starting line of this race was truly the most charming we have ever seen.
There was a heart-felt thank you to the runners from the person who started the race and then we were off. Mike and I are NEVER at the front of the race but since this was a small race, there we were! The course traveled on a wonderful paved path beside the river and it was (thankfully) totally flat! The light mist turned to a true rain by the time we crossed the finish line but it felt wonderful.
We chatted with fellow participants and volunteers while we waited for the awards ceremony. Mike ended up winning a generous gift certificate to Mountain State Brewery, as a door prize. We won first and second place in our age group. Full disclosure-we were the ONLY ones in our age group! And we were honored that Mike’s cape won first prize and mine won second prize in the costume competition. However, the true highlight of the event was having our picture taken with Hunter.
While we originally chose this race because it was convenient and sounded like a blast, our focus quickly centered on the very meaningful cause it supported. The majority of the races that we run benefit some worthy organization. However, we have never had the privilege of personally meeting an individual so directly involved in the cause.
Mike and I are so pleased that our modest entry fees for our 20th quest race will go towards helping this adorable purple-clad super hero and others affected by MPSII. I know we will make decisions about future races with this perspective in mind.
Quest Race #: 20
State: West Virginia
Date Run: June 20, 2015
The Bottom Line: This was an exceptionally well organized race on a beautiful, river-side path. The facilities were terrific and the swag included a t-shirt, water bottle, and a Hope 4 Hunter bracelet. The prizes were generous, the volunteers were friendly, and the after-race food was plentiful. We would strongly encourage participation in this race next year. But if you can’t run this race, please consider a similar small race that benefits a truly important cause. The Hope 4 Hunter Face Book page posted a video of this event that captures the wonderful feel of this terrific event.