A Bunch of Superheroes Ran the Last 17 Miles of the Marathon Route

More than 250 runners participated in the CharityTeams Superhero 17 on Saturday.

superheroes running

From Captain America to Zoro, the entire gamut of superheroes ran through Boston earlier today (Photo by Margaret Burdge).


It’s far from unordinary to see runners flooding Boston streets on Saturday mornings in March preparing for the marathon, but seeing Superman and Wonder Woman jog by is a different story. That’s exactly what happened over the weekend, thanks to the CharityTeams Superhero 17 run, where more than 250 participants ran the last 17-mile stretch of the Boston Marathon route (from Natick to Copley Square) dressed as their favorite superhero.

CharityTeams is a non-profit organization that works with teams running the marathon in support of particular charities to build up the team and form camaraderie that aids in the process of preparing for the race. “When you bring the charity under the CharityTeams umbrella, it makes it so they have a lot more friends, networking, and people to run with every week,” says Susan Hurley, founder of CharityTeams.

For the past few years, CharityTeams has chosen to take some of the bite out of the longer runs at the climax of marathon training. “It’s really a diversion for the runners to make it fun and so they’re not fearful,” says Hurley of the choice to dress up for the long runs. Many of the runners involved with the fundraising teams are beginners, simply supporting a cause, so the longer runs at the climax of marathon training can seem daunting. This event will be followed by the Hop-21 on Saturday, March 29, where runners don Easter outfits (get ready for sprinting bunnies and chicks) for the 21-mile run.

Besides the spectacle of a pack of superheroes running through the city, “Charity runners kind of are superheroes in their own way,” Hurley says. “They’re balancing jobs and lives, and raising a lot of money for local charities, and then they’re out there training in what I call the ‘Frozen Tundra.’” As all the money raised through the John Hancock Non Profit Partners program and the Boston Athletic Association program goes back into the community, saving lives, the choice of superheroes was an easy one for Hurley.

In case you missed the festivities this weekend, check out the photos below:

costumed runners

Photo by Margaret Burdge

For Diane Wilson, who’s already done a 16-mile run, one extra mile shouldn’t be a problem, but she can’t shake the fact that 17 feels like a big hurdle in the training. “As silly as it is to be wearing a Wonder Woman costume down the marathon route, it’s a great way to distract us from the 17 miles, and I’m thankful for that,” says Wilson. “I’m thankful for the chance to be silly, and get 17 miles in in a silly way.” 

joker and ivy

Photo by Margaret Burdge

Some runners set out on the course in coordinating outfits, like these two dressed as The Joker and Ivy from the Batman comic.

superhero run

Photo by Margaret Burdge

There are many runners entering the marathon this year to fundraise for individual charities, and the long runs serve as a way to get to know other runners. “Running is not necessarily an individual sport,” Hurley explains, “it can be a team sport, and with these charity programs it really is a team sport.”


Photo by Margaret Burdge

This runner makes it easy to root for the Underdog.


Photo by Margaret Burdge

Runners participating on behalf of charities shoulder an additional burden to running the race; they have to balance their lives with running, training, and fundraising. CharityTeams works to lighten that burden as much as possible. “You need that kind of support,” Hurley says. “You need support from friends and family and the charities themselves, and each other.


Photo by Margaret Burdge

This incredible pair jogged alongside the others.


Photo by Margaret Burdge

 “The best part about it is the smiles from the kids in the cars when you’re running by,” Hurley says, “it’s really gratifying.”

runners in costume

Photo by Margaret Burdge

Yep, that’s Batman.


Photo by Margaret Burdge

Wilson highlighted the long runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays as the primary time for teams to bond as a group and build team spirit.

superman runner

Photo by Margaret Burdge

Superman was the favorite costume of the day, with many runners dressed as the classic hero.

superwoman running

Photo by Margaret Burdge

Many of the women running also got their Superman on.

Photo by Margaret Burdge

Photo by Margaret Burdge

These runners continue on the final leg of their 17-miler.