By Steven Olender
In traditional superhero comics, there are themes that recur, ideas or events we can count on in nearly every story. The world or city will be threatened by a larger-than-life villain. An innocent person will be in distress. A seemingly ordinary person will turn out to be a hero of incredible strength and honor. The battle will be close but, in the end, our hero will triumph. Following the struggle, our hero will impart some words of heroic wisdom and disappear into the obscurity of his mild-mannered alter ego.
In the same way, certain traditions have arisen through the 8 years of the CASA Superhero Run. Every year, thousands of people come out to run and meet their favorite heroes. Every year, a treacherous team of supervillains lead our Kids 1K and every year they lose to the pint-sized superheroes. Certain mainstays, like our costume contest, superhero bounce houses and photo booth remain popular every year. Every year, our friends at Amy’s Ice Cream help make the run more delicious and our friends at 360 Press Solutions print incredible posters and fliers. Our longtime running sponsor, Rogue Running, sends its fast as the Flash athletes who (very) often take home our 5K overall awards!
I started my own CASA Superhero Run tradition six years ago, when I boldly stated to my friends that I would be running the race as Underdog, even though I had never made a costume before and had no clue how to start. As I fumbled my way through building a papier mâché and chicken wire Underdog helmet, I documented my (lack of) progress on Facebook and asked my friends to donate. They responded in droves. Every year since, I have created increasingly elaborate costumes, always with no idea how I would pull it off.
Lucky Cantu made a tradition of running to raise money for CASA before she could run and before the CASA Superhero Run existed. Back when our race was still the Speak Up For Kids CASA 5K, Lucky’s mom pushed her in a stroller for the race. As she grew up, the race has been part of her year every single year. She and her mom make imaginative costumes every year and Lucky donates her birthday to CASA, asking friends and family to donate to her race instead of giving her gifts. She even makes friends at the race and every year she and Robin Johnson Jr meet up to recreate their first super photo.
Lucky isn’t the only superkid growing up with the CASA Superhero Run. Super families like the Wrights and the Brians make the run a family event every year. They started when their oldest children were in strollers and their youngest were years from being born. The children in these families grow up knowing that they have always had the power to be heroes for other kids and that helping others is an important family value.
The run’s superhero teams aren’t just families, though. Each year, businesses like Healthtronics and teleNetwork sponsor the race and bring out big teams. They add to the fun and team-building by holding internal costume contests, or working together to reach a team fundraising goal. Year after year, the Texas Thetas appear by the busload, a veritable stampede of superheroes in custom size XL t-shirts.
And we build new traditions every year. Two years ago, our friends at BAM Academy built their first superhero obstacle course. Each year, new businesses, schools, friends and families have started their own superhero traditions. And who can forget the new tradition that flew into the CASA Superhero Run with our high-flying aerial performers.
So, whether you are a family hoping to teach your kids that they have the power to help others, a business that wants your staff to function as well as the Justice League, or a dorky alter ego like me who just wants to live the life of a superhero once a year, come join us. New heroes and new traditions are always welcome.
Start your own supertraditions on Sunday, September 17 at Domain Central Park during the 8th annual CASA Superhero Run!
CASA Superhero Run 2017 September