Audio Slideshow: CHaD Runners Raise $650K
Sarah McKenney, 9, center, and her mother Julie, right, finish the Cam's Course Family Fun Run in Hanover, N.H. on October 20, 2013. The run is one of the many events which comprise the CHaD Hero Half Marathon and Ripcord 5K, which is a benefit the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »
A CHaD Hero half-marathon runner is high-fived as she approaches the finish line in Hanover, N.H. on October 20, 2013. The run is one of the many events which comprise the CHaD Hero Half Marathon and Ripcord 5K, which is a benefit the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »
Half-marathon runners cross the Ledyard Bridge in Hanover, N.H. on October 20, 2013. The half-marathon is one of the many events which comprise the CHaD Hero Half Marathon and Ripcord 5K, which benefits the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »
John Ignacio, 5, of Canaan, N.H., gets in costume prior to participating in the CHaD Hero Half Marathon and Ripcord 5K in Hanover, N.H. on October 20, 2013. The annual event raised over $650,000 for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — On Sunday morning, the Dartmouth College green was swarming with would-be superheroes. Folks of all ages wore polyester capes, colorful tights, and mysterious masks. A team of stylish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sported green turtle-shell backpacks and tutus. A chocolate lab was decked out as Wonder Dog.
Some of them danced to the live music; other superheroes ate bananas and munched granola bars. And many of them wore running shorts.
“There’s a hero in all of us,” said Jeff Hastings, dressed as Spiderman. “Everyone plays a role in getting kids well.”
Hastings, a Hanover resident and former Olympic ski jumper, is the founder of the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hero Half Marathon and Ripcord 5K, an annual race that began in 2006 and has become the primary fundraising event for the Lebanon-based hospital. A few years ago, race organizers called on participants to come in costume, in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people dressed as superheroes in one place. They succeeded two years in a row, and the superhero theme stuck.
More than 3,000 people turned out — some to walk, some to run a five-kilometer race, and some to sweat out the 13.1-mile, hilly half marathon that loops through Norwich and back through Hanover, beginning and ending at the green.
The event raised more than $650,000 for the hospital, surpassing last year’s total. Some teams are still completing their fundraising, and Hastings hopes to reach this year’s goal of $775,000.
Chris Marks, of Proctorsville, Vt., was dressed as his hero: the head of rheumatology at CHaD, who treated his two-year-old son.
Marks wore a Superman shirt and a cape that said “Doc Albert” on the back. “It doesn’t say Dr. Albert because the iron-on letters we got only had one ‘r’ in the pack,” he said.
Dr. Daniel Albert’s “superpowers,” said Marks, included “professionalism, intelligence, and compassion for small children.” The antihero? A genetic mutation called tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS) that causes high fevers in kids.
Among the participants were CHaD patients, their friends, teachers, and relatives, and hospital employees. Even the hospital’s computer technicians came to the race, as members of the “Help Desk Heroes” team. “We rid the computers of all viruses and evil people,” said Bill Weyrick, of Thetford.
On race day, not a villain was in sight, and it was a sunny, breezy day.
“I don’t think I have any antiheroes today,” said Jessica Day, of Bellows Falls, Vt. “All I have is heroes.”
She was dressed as Wonder Woman, in honor of her childhood friend Serena who died of cancer. Serena used to watch the Wonder Woman television series.
McKay Larson, of Hanover, works at the medical center and has family involved in organizing the race.
“My antihero is people who are sitting on their couches right now, not out here running for CHaD,” she said.
A man dressed as Captain America, resplendent in blue spandex with large, fake muscles, rode down the race course on a motorcycle with an American flag fluttering behind, leading the half marathon winner to the finish line. Joshua Steffen, of New London, finished first in just over one hour and 14 minutes.
Not far behind was Jim Lord, of Hooksett, N.H. He wore Superman underpants over his shorts. “My son was a patient at CHaD when he was two and had a successful heart procedure,” he said. “And that’s why I’m out here doing this.”