BENNINGTON — Superheroes descended on the town on Saturday: The Incredibles, the Incredible Hulk, the Ninja Turtles, a tiny Spiderman, as well as several Wonder Women, a small Batman and other colorful masked and caped characters.
They gathered outside the Rec Center, ran 3 miles around town starting at 9 a.m. and returned to the Recreation Center parking lot to eat some snacks, take photos and hear the award winners.
This is the second year in a row United Counseling Service organized the “Superhero 5K,” a race that the nonprofit organization designed to bring members of the community together. And about 130 of them showed up this year, both in and out of costume.
Rachel Darby, a UCS employee who was channeling Wonder Woman, pushed a stroller through the finish line as her 5-year-old daughter Nora, dressed as Supergirl, ran beside her.
Ed Doucette, 89, completed the course shortly before 10 a.m. Dressed in black sweatpants and a blue windbreaker, the Bennington resident said he participated in the event as a way to stay healthy.
Doucette apparently began running marathons after he turned 60, including the Boston Marathon twice. He is now prepping for Arlington’s “Running of the Turkeys,” the town’s traditional 5K held on Thanksgiving Day.
Isaac Vernon, an eighth grader at Manchester Elementary Middle School, won the race at 23 minutes and 33 seconds. The 13-year-old joined as part of his training for three New England 10-milers next year.
He received a wooden rack inscribed with “UCS Superhero 5K 2019.” The top runners in each sex and age category also received small bottles of maple syrup.
Julie Held, of Pownal, was recognized for best adult costume and took home a gift basket. She and three family members dressed as the Ninja Turtles, which included makeshift turtle shells.
The 5K was followed by the “Kids’ Dash,” a race down a portion of Gage Street in which Bennington police officers ran with the children.
Among the young runners was 3-year-old Emma Ejeriefe, who was dressed as The Incredibles. She was the youngest participant that day, organizers said.
Proceeds from the event will benefit UCS’s Client Wellness Fund, which promotes its clients’ overall well-being through activities like exercise, workshops and field trips, said Heidi French, the organization’s director of community relations and development.
The 5K was so named because “we all have heroes in our lives that inspire us to be the best we can be,” French said.
The idea for the race was conceived by the organization’s executive director, Lorna Mattern, who came as Supergirl with her husband Tom Mattern, who was fully made up as The Incredible Hulk.
Contact Tiffany Tan at firstname.lastname@example.org, @tiffgtan on Twitter or 802-447-7567 ext. 122.