Superheroes, prisoners and animals.
Those were just some of the costumes people chose to wear during the Halloween Half Run in Red Deer Saturday morning.
The sixth annual event, which began and ended at Bower Ponds, is part of the Run Red Deer Series – the other races in the series are the Spring Fever Run in April and the Roundup Run in June.
“This is the fun run. We have prizes for best costumes, people can run in those costumes and have fun with it,” said Tom Bamford, event chief sweat officer.
“I think the one group dressed up as prisoners are on the run from the law, so they’ll do well out there,” he joked.
About 400 people typically register for the run, but due to overnight snow the number of runners was lower than expected. Bamford estimated about 250 runners participated Saturday.
While seasonally the run felt more like a Christmas run than a Halloween run, Bamford said those participating still had a good time.
“We try to keep it fun. Today it’s a little off theme because of the snow. Typically this run has been dry and seasonally it’s usually around 9 C this time of year.
“But it doesn’t stop runners. We’re Canadians, we’re all-season athletes. Rain or shine, we want to run,” he said.
Saturday’s event featured 5K, 10K and 21K courses. The half marathon even brought people through “the forbidden forest,” said Bamford.
“I called it the forbidden forest to make it fun. I was spraying one of the signs as a marker for the runners, the paint dribbled down and it looked like red blood and I thought, ‘That’s perfect.’ … That’s the vampire blood.”
There were some fallen trees in the “forbidden forest,” caused by heavy winds on Friday, but Bamford said he tried to cut them up and move them off course. Any remaining hazard was marked with the “vampire blood,” he added.
Organizing runs is “the best job in the world,” said Bamford.
“I was a software executive for 25 years and this year I acquired a number of runs and triathlons, like Ironman 70.3 Calgary, Great White North in Edmonton. It’s a whole provincial series I took over.
“I wanted to do this, this is the next chapter in my career, because I am triathlete and runner at heart.”
The event also raised money for the Red Deer College cross-country team.
“They’ve helped us at a lot of events. This is one of the fundraising elements. We’re proud to support them and keep it in the running community.”