Superhero run in North Park benefits abused, neglected children
Sunday, April 28, 2019 | 1:30 AM
While a superhero costume might not be required to take part in the 11th annual Superhero Foundation 5K on May 11 at North Park, it definitely adds to the fun of the event.
“We have a cosplay group that dresses up for charitable things, and their costumes are incredible,” said Erica Burg, the “chief operating superhero” of the foundation. “They go all out. If they’re Wonder Woman, they’re Wonder Woman. They’re not in a Party City Wonder Woman costume.”
The annual 5K fun run and walk benefits CASA of Allegheny County, an organization that provides court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children who are involved in the child welfare system. The tagline for the event is, “Every child needs a hero, but abused children need superheroes.”
The Superhero Foundation was started in Austin, Texas, by a former colleague of Burg’s, and she soon got involved. The first fun run was held in Austin and the second one was held in Pittsburgh in 2009. They raised $13,000 that first year for a local organization to help stop child abuse Burg said. Soon after that, they partnered with CASA. They’ve since raised close to $100,000 in Pittsburgh, and the Superhero runs have expanded to 30 cities nationwide.
The run in North Park takes place along the loop located near the Pie Traynor Field and the pool. Runners and walkers will do the loop twice.
There are usually anywhere from 600 to 1,000 participants, Burg said, depending largely upon the weather on the day of the race. They had to move this year’s race forward a couple of weeks, she said, which has been a bit challenging because it’s Mother’s Day weekend and the day before the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which draws thousands to Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park each year.
Still, they have about 600 registered, she said.
“A huge portion of participants register the last week when they see the weather report, so we hope we have a nice day and get a late surge,” she said.
The day begins with a 1K that’s perfect for kids, although adults are more than welcome to participate, as well, Burg said. That’s followed by a 5K run and a 5K walk starting 15 minutes later to allow runners time to get out on the course.
Participants can use strollers, Burg said, and bring their dogs as long as they’re friendly. They have prizes for the best costumes for both humans and their animal companions.
“We even had a pony one year,” Burg said. “I haven’t seen them again; I think they were from out of town. But they put a cape on the pony and everything.”