Any runner can tell you that costumes aren't confined to a once-a-year holiday--certain race participants get their kicks by dressing up year-round. Whether they're outfitted for laughs or for a cause, race-day exhibitionists add a ton of flavor and fun for spectators and fellow runners alike. Click through to see photos of some of our favorite ensembles from courses across the country.
"Green Team" member Mark Martini channeled his inner rock star at the 2009 Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff, a 5-mile "fun run" with Team For Kids, the official charity of the New York Road Runners.
Karen Beitel and the rest of the "Bare Butt Cowboys" saddled up for the 2006 Pride and Remembrance Run in Toronto, Canada. The group--which has also dressed up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, CJ from Baywatch, and runaway brides--won the best costume award from 2005 to 2009.
Got to hand it to him: Mark Bledsoe ran the Spooktacular 5K in Huntsville, AL last Halloween as Michael Jackson's glove, complete with 2,500 sequins. "The hardest part was keeping my two hands raised in the air the entire time," says Bledsoe.
An American trilogy: Team 3Elvis--Gerry Armentrout, Andy Sulak, and Pete Beck--and Amanda Johnson pay tribute to the King at the Dirty Half Dozen, a 6-hour endurance run.
Kim Skarphol, Ann Anderson, and Tom Donaldson got down and dirty at the 2009 Filthy 5K mud run in Morehead, MN. The "Swine Flew Crew" slid through puddles and scrambled up a hill of slippery clay before snagging the trophy for best costume.
Kim Harkins and Janice Scheizer became larger than life (literally), dressing up as a sumo wrestler and baby in the 2009 Trek or Treat 5K in Oakville, Ontario.
"I have run in this costume for almost the past two years," says Karen Bhagwat, whose daughter picked out her running alter ego. "I take pleasure in reminding the women who cheer me on that we're all wonder women." Mark Carlson, Jason George, and Bhagwat pose for the camera at the 2009 Fifth Third Turkey Trot in Detroit.
Anthony Brown makes a run for it at the 2010 Krispy Kreme Challenge hosted at North Carolina State University. The charity race is anything but a cop out: You run two miles, down a dozen doughnuts, and then race back.
Inspired by the legend of Native American Princess Onoko and her forbidden love, Samantha and Nino Logan ran in matching his and hers costumes last Halloween at the first annual Wicked 10K in Virginia Beach, VA.
Rachael Heitman, Amanda Clevenger, and Vicki Merry ran the 2009 Disney World Half Marathon as the three fairy godmothers from Sleeping Beauty.
Pete Beck, Dale Carriger, Gerry Armentrout, and Veronica Briggs suited up with about 400 others in the 2007 Great Gorilla Run, San Francisco, a stateside version of London's 7K charity race, which raises money to help save the endangered mountain gorillas in Central Africa. The gorilla gear came with the entry fee.
Alain Ferry gets into the holiday spirit at the 2009 Somerville Jingle Run in Massachusetts.
To raise help raise money for breast cancer research, Ed Zielke spent 1.5 hours covering his body in paint for the 2009 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Allison Leer, Vanessa Bowman, Julie Leer, and Laura Davidson got patriotic for the CarmelFest Freedom Run, held annually over Fourth of July in Carmel, Indiana. True to form, the ladies sang "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" while on the course.
Guess he found his land legs. A runner dressed Captain Jack Sparrow races through the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Marathon.
More ways to get revved for your next race--costumes optional.