PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Racers of various ages and superpowers zip for the finish line Sunday in the Super- heroes 5K.

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3,000-plus are superheroes in charity run/walk at Capitol

Published: Monday, Jun. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 11:29 am

Laura Lopez was taking pictures of the Vargas family dressed in full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes in front of the state Capitol on Sunday morning.

"I love superheroes and it's a great way to celebrate Father's Day," said the 26-year-old Roseville woman, who came as Donatello. "It's a lot of fun to see all the costumes."

Lopez and the Vargas family, which included 16-month-old Nestor Vargas Jr. as Shredder in a stroller, were among 3,500 people who registered for the first Superheroes 5K run/walk around Capitol Mall.

The event was organized by Capital Road Race Management to raise funds for 12 local nonprofit groups, including the California Coalition for Youth, the Center for Fathers and Families, and the YMCA.

"We wanted to honor the personal superheroes and the local superheroes working with our youths," said Kellie Haynes, event director.

Participants were encouraged to dress up as their favorite superheroes, and everyone who had preregistered was given a red cape with the letters "SH" in yellow to wear during the race. Runners also had a choice to donate directly or raise funds for one of the listed charities.

The most popular superheroes represented at the event were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man and the Incredibles, although there were many other participants who created their own characters.

The Brown family was clad from head to toe in blue spandex, and wore gold masks. The suits also featured a yellow circle with the words "B Force" inside.

"We always talk about the 'Brown Force' – to get good grades, to do our best," said Ben Brown, 40, of El Dorado Hills.

He and his wife, Jill, 45, along with their two children, Jacob, 11 and Teagan, 9, ran to raise money for the YMCA.

One of the better-costumed groups at the race was the Gotham City Team. Veronica Alvarez, 35, of San Bruno was dressed in a slinky black bodysuit as Catwoman, while Patrick Ryan, 43, of Las Vegas was the Incredible Hulk in his green muscle suit.

Mitch Miller, 24, of Sacramento was Bane, complete with mask, while Donnie Miller, 47, also of Sacramento, was Batman in full black Dark Knight get-up. Miller's wife, Barbara, 40, was a matching Batgirl.

"We thought it was mandatory," said Donnie Miller of their costumes.

Added Alvarez, "We didn't want to be underdressed."

Reymon Hernandez, 31, of Sacramento was in full Flash costume. He was accompanied by his 10-year-old daughter, Mari, who came in head-to-toe Supergirl gear.

"We wanted to do something different for Father's Day," said the elder Hernandez.

"I run a lot and I figure this would be a fun thing to break her into the habit of just running. It's something that we can do together that integrates fitness. So we'll see how it will go."

Spider-Man Trent Thomas, 27, of Sacramento is a regular runner. He had completed the Rave Run at Cal Expo on Saturday, and was ready to go Sunday.

"I didn't bring my web-slingers," he said. "There are no skyscrapers to swing from. But I might climb some buildings next year."

Helen Seifort, 24, of Auburn, who came as red Elektra, didn't bring her character's trademark sais as they were too heavy.

"I'm really surprised at the turnout," she said. "I love that entire families are running."

She was accompanied by She-Hulk, played by Rebecca Hauger, 43, of Sacramento in green body paint, and Raven, portrayed in black and purple by Kellie Davis, 33, of Sacramento. "I'm a huge superhero geek," said Hauger. "I never raced before. I had to train for this."

As runners crossed the finish line, Haynes and other race officials would announce their first names or the costumed character they portrayed.

"There's Superman flying across the finish line," she would say. "Here come the Incredibles."

One person who wasn't exactly faster than a speeding bullet was Green Lantern Samantha Borlesa, 26, of Stockton, who was carrying her 6-year-old son, Paul Tatum, a.k.a. Spider-Man, on her back the last half of the race.

"He just got too tired," she said, as she finally let the 66-pound boy down to his feet after crossing the finish line. "I either had to drag him or carry him."

This was her first 5K event, and she was happy she finished.

"It's Father's Day and I'm a single mom," she said. "I just wanted to do something special for (her son)."

Call The Bee's Tillie Fong, (916) 321-1006.

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