Monday, June 2, 2014

"Adventure is out there!" Running in costume at Portland's Starlight Run

Starlight Run 5k on May 31st

The race takes place in the evening on the streets of Portland, OR.  We run the "Starlight Parade" route just before the actual parade begins.

It's a fun and zany parade with some of the Portland Rose Festival floats altered to light up for the night time parade.  The Starlight Run is like the opening act for a big concert... the run is no small fare with over 7,000 registered runners and completely zaney as well.

The Starlight Run is an untimed event... the clock ticking though for runners to finish before the start of the parade.  Most runners run in some form of costume, whether it be a tutu or fun shirt or some other crazy design.  Those hoping to participate in the costume contest need to report to the band stage (at the start expo/party) at 6:30pm and the race starts at 7:45pm.  (The Parade afterwards starts at about 9pm.)
Race registration is $19.00 for 16 years and up with a free meal ticket on each bib for The Old Spaghetti Factory (up to $10.50 in value).   The race beneficiary is Legacy Health Rehabilitation and Therapy Program when participants make a donation during their registration process.

The Rose Festival's theme this year is "Making Memories" and dressing up as the characters from the movie "Up" seemed like a perfect match for the race and festival's theme.

I can't remember whose idea it was... but I was very honored to be invited to be in the gang!  I took on the task of becoming "Carl" and true to my fashion, started scouring the thrift stores for clothes and items to reuse.

Carl's head is made from a styrofoam cooler and other styrofoam pieces from the recycle bin.

After locating some overly warm pants at the thrift store and a brown flannel shirt for a suit jacket, I stole borrowed a white dress shirt from my husband and completed the look with a homemade "Ellie Badge" and bowtie.  Sandy is a very talented woman who designed and completed the "Dug" (dog), "Kevin" (bird) and "Russell" (wilderness explorer scout) costumes.  Check out the detail on "Russell's" backpack:
complete with candybar with a beak shaped bite.

And here is my costume after some paint over the styrofoam and some felt glued on for hair.

However, my completed costume is not complete without the group...

Picture credit to Waz-Mix Pix

So here is my amazing group at the beginning of the race.  Check out the detail on that house!  Complete with a garden hose near the front door and details like sky printed tights.  Way to go Mel!

Despite the warm weather and the bulky get up, I would do it all over again in a heart beat.  It was so fun to see all the different types of costumes and themes.  My favorite with the "making memories" theme was a couple who were dressed as an actual photo album.  Very creative!

We didn't win the costume contest, but enjoyed mingling with the other runners and being asked about 200 times to stop and pose with people to have our picture taken with them.  Clif Bar got a few pictures with us.  I felt like a movie star.... okay, I was dressed up as a movie character.

Some of our fans were the Girls On The Run group

There are an estimated 150,000 spectators for the parade and we ran in front of them.  News stations and parade announcers announced in their microphones for the spectators that the characters from the movie Up were approaching.  Kids screamed for our high fives and adults screamed "SQUIRREL!" for our hyper dog to get excited over.  It was so much fun.  Waluigi  stole my cane mid race and when Mario was unable to peg him with a turtle shell, my faithful dog, Dug, ran ahead and retrieved it.

Before long, I saw the mile 3 mile marker and shouted through my head gear "I have never been so happy to see a mile 3 marker!" to the laughter of my team mates.

We all stayed together and finished together hand in hand.  I hope we can do this all together again next year!!

Photo credit to Waz-Mix Pix

From left to right is me as "Carl", Sandy as "Kevin", Mel as "the House", Rod as "Russell" and Maryalicia as "Dug".  (You can follow some of Maryalicia's adventures on the Run Oregon blog, Sandy at and Mel at

A little extra about race day preparation:
With the costume done and a day to spare, I needed something more to do.  I'm a last minute person... so to keep my hands busy and to drive myself crazy with a big project with a deadline, I decided to make more "Ellie Badges" ...

I made about 15 of them to pass out to my friends and a few extras for some of our biggest fans.  I think after my friends each go one, I had about three left.  I gave them to the parents of some of the youngest kiddos and they were all so thrilled.  Click here for the web page with the best directions and pdf file for the logo.  An extra step that is very helpful is removing the safety pin clasp/head to place the bottle cap on.  By doing that (with the clasp/head secured again) the bottle cap is secured to the pin and not going anywhere when the pin is opened.  That, and, that's how it is in the movie.

Finally, this was a race with no bling and as a bling whore... I couldn't have that.  So I got on the net, looked up a Rose Festival logo and changed it to say "Starlight Run 5k"  "Making Memories" and "2014".

I sewed a ribbon into a loop and laced each "ellie badge" on to the ribbon.  The "grape soda" logo was glued inside with a high gloss coating applied to both sides.

I regret not making some for the two husbands who stayed with our group on the run.  They were vital and just as much part of the group despite not having costumes.  My huge head was not very race friendly and it was impossible to see or hear.  Often a small child would dart out in front of me and I wouldn't know it... potentially tripping over them and taking us both out!  The two guys quickly became my "spotters" checking on me (as it was a hot day made worse my physical exertion under many layers of clothes and a styrofoam head) and helping to direct me so that I didn't trip over anyone and hurt them or myself.  At one point my shoe actually came untied!  I have never had a shoe come untied during a race... and it had to be this one.  I didn't realize it and when a team mate pointed it out, one of the guys came to the rescue and tied it for me.  I actually couldn't see my feet and it was pretty cumbersome to get my head on and off.  So big thanks to Tim and Brian who helped keep the group together and safe and without incident!   

And if you have no idea what the movie "Up" is, here is a short clip from the beginning of the move.  "Up" just celebrated it's 5 year anniversary of being released in theaters.

This is the best four minutes of Pixar's cinema history... Life, love, struggles, happiness every emotion wrapped up in this little clip. The whole movie itself is a fun and heartwarming piece of art.  At least I think so...

The only time I had run with someone for an entire race was a couple weeks ago at the Hippie Chicks Half.  It was so much fun to run with such a large group of people!

Have you ever ran with a large group of people from start to finish?  Ran a parade route?  Ran in a crazy costume?  Tell me about your experiences!


  1. Great recap. You captured it so well. We are winners!

    1. :D Thanks Maryalicia! I felt like one! We were well received and costumes were loved, so that's a win. Even if it didn't come with a park pass or concert tickets ;-)