KAILUA, Hawaii --
It isn’t common to find Batman, a giant banana, the Burger King and Tom Hanks racing to the same finish line, but a race days before Halloween is almost guaranteed to bring the unusual.
Runners from around Oahu gathered at Kailua Beach Park here Oct. 29 to participate in the 2nd Annual General “Howlin’ Mad” Smith 5K run.
The race, coordinated by Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, was a fundraiser for the MarForPac Marine Corps birthday ball. It attracted 183 horror characters and movie star imitators, along with a few dressed as runners, and raised approximately $1,900.
“It helps offset the cost [of the ball] for our junior Marines,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 John R. Bandy, assistant aviation support officer and primary coordinator of the race. “It’s one of the cheapest (5-kilometer races) on the island.”
Because approximately 30 participants last year showed up in costumes, this year’s runners were encouraged to wear festive attire which they kept on throughout the race.
Costumed competitors in the streets of the Kailua neighborhood served as moving Halloween decorations to the local community.
The scenic location of the 5K route attracted many civilians and service members from around the island. Runners traced Kailua’s coast at the beginning and end of the race.
“It’s a beautiful place and a lot of people run it,” Bandy said in reference to the course.
Brian P. Hayes, an Army major who works at Pacific Command, finished first for the second year in a row with a time of 17 minutes, 20 seconds.
A 4-year-old boy ran beside his father during the race and was this year’s youngest competitor.
Bandy said when someone told him the last runner was a 4-year-old dressed as a character from “The Incredibles,” he got the idea to announce the boy was coming. Once people started clapping for him, the boy started running again.
“He might understand what this is a little bit later,” Bandy said, after giving the young boy his own personal Ironman commemorative pin.
After the awards presentation, the winner of the costume contest, a young girl dressed as a zombie bride, received a $50 gift card.
Bandy said he was satisfied with the turnout and plans on expanding the costume contest next year to have more award divisions.