The Casual Runner

COSRUNNING: RUNNING A GALACTIC EMPIRE

This is the sixth installment in Jake’s CosRunning Series. You can check out his first feature on CosRunning & his second feature, where he showed you how he brought the characters from the Cars franchise to life.  He got a little more daring in Part 3 as he channeled his inner Disney Princess and transformed into the Little Mermaid. His next installment brought you to Neverland as he created Peter Pan’s Shadow. In part 5 Jake returned to Neverland to join the Lost Boys. You can also check out our picture gallery of race costumes on our Facebook page.  If you are looking for ways to add more character to your Casual Running adventures, consider running races in Costumes.  Jake will be bringing you more great features with costuming ideas – including how he creates his great looks – that are both awesome looking and runner friendly.

CHARACTER: Admiral Firmus Piett
EVENT: Hills of Milltown 5k Challenge / Nerd Herd “Nerd Awakens” 5K Virtual
DATE: May 23, 2015
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy

In this chapter of my CosRunning series, I join the Imperial Navy and use some new materials to quickly rise through the ranks.

CONCEPT (NERD ALERT!)

IMG_20150523_065302111Even if you are sci-fi challenged, you are probably aware there is a movie series called Star Wars.

And you may even be vaguely aware that the Empire, led by none other than the Emperor (you know, because emperors lead empires) and his right-hand man, Darth Vader, destroy the Jedi and scour the galaxy hunting down the rebel alliance. Well, to do all that scouring, the Empire employs an entire Imperial Navy to get the job done. More specifically, Vader’s personal fleet of Star Destroyers with the subtle name of the “Death Squadron” (when said aloud, this should be accompanied by air quotes). And while Darth really calls the shots, someone has to be held responsible when things don’t go his way.

All this background is leading somewhere, I promise.

While Darth Vader is famous for his one-liners, he’s not exactly known for his tolerance of failure. In fact, it’s probably his biggest pet peeve. You may remember when Vader summons the dark power of the Force and chokes out Admiral after Admiral, famously quoting one-liners like, “I find your lack of faith disturbing,” and, “You have failed me for the last time.”

Well, Admiral Piett is the one who stood by watching each one fall, earning a new promotion each time, and ultimately becoming Admiral himself. Unlike his fore bearers, Piett dodges blame like a pro and adeptly avoids getting choked to death by the dark side of the Force.

IMG_20150523_073736802_HDRSPOILER ALERT: Instead, he meets his fate in a fiery ball of death when an A-Wing crashes into the ship’s bridge at the end of Return of the Jedi. But you already knew that.

DESIGN

I decided to go simple with this costume partly because I spent more than enough money on our runDisney race costumes, but also because it was “only” a 5K for a virtual race series.
I was able to find a shirt, hat, and shorts in a sage green color that worked well for the costume and figured I would just add the rank insignia and black belt to complete the character. While the insignia is very specific, iconic, and easily recognizable to even a casual Star Wars fan, it is pretty simple (just a silver base plate with 6 raised red squares in a line over 6 raised blue squares), so I didn’t really need to reinvent the wheel. I did stumble across a new technique, though. I’ll get to that in a minute.

CREATION

I did absolutely nothing to alter the running gear in any way. I did reuse a pair of shoes I had Sharpied black for Lightning McQueen, though. (I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of those black shoes!) So, here is where this article gets interesting (in a non-Star Wars way). I needed to be able to make the rank insignia lightweight enough so it wouldn’t fly all over the place while I was running. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to accomplish it, so I put it on the back burner while I finished up costumes for Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend.

IMG_20150428_162553177_HDRI was working on Jennifer’s Tick-Tock costume and needed something to use for the crocodile’s teeth. We were at the local craft store when I stumbled across craft foam (a thin, lightweight sheet of foam) that seemed like it would work great. And it did work great! When I saw the various colors of foam sheets, it seemed like a no-brainer that I could use a larger piece of grey foam, glue red and blue squares on it, and just attach it with some safety pins.

I ended up using double-sided tape to attach the squares because they were so lightweight, and the tape was a lot easier to work with. Safety pinning was causing some buckling in the base plate, so I added an additional piece to the back that I could stick the safety pins through. It turned out great and foam has become one of my new go-to textiles for creating a character.

RACE DAY

If you’re not familiar with the Nerd Herd virtual race series, they organize three nerd-themed virtual races per year as part of a race trilogy with medals for each race and a fourth medal if you sign up for all three. You sign up, print the bibs they email you, run your race however you choose, and they send you the medals.

We usually do an organized local race to satisfy each challenge, but you can just go for a training run and log your miles if you want. The best part is that all net proceeds from the Nerd Herd Race Series events benefit the charity Stupid Cancer (a nonprofit organization that comprehensively addresses young adult cancer through advocacy, research, support, outreach, and awareness).

This year’s trilogy is “The Nerdly Hallows,” with Star wars-themed “The Nerd Awakens,” Dr. Who-themed “Run, you Clever Nerd,” and Harry Potter-themed “Up to No Good” races rounding out the trilogy.

To satisfy the requirements for The Nerd Awakens virtual race, we chose to run the Hills of Milltown 5k Challenge in scenic downtown Ellicott City, Maryland. The weather was great for the race, and despite the extreme elevation changes along the course, it was a lot of fun. We also were not the only people dressed in costumes, as someone from a local ice cream shop was dressed as an ice cream cone for the race. Most of the other racers had no idea why we were dressed as Star Wars characters, but there were quite a few who liked our costumes anyway, and gave us shouts of encouragement along the way.

GEAR

IMG_20150523_065246981Garmin Forerunner 220
Nike Dri-Fit Adjustable Running Hat
Nike Men’s Dri-Fit Sprint Long Sleeve Running Shirt
Propper Men’s Tactical Shorts
Mizuno Men’s Wave Inspire 9 Running Shoes
injinji Sport Original Weight Crew Coolmax Socks
Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Compression Shorts
Under Armour Men’s Original Series Tank
We all have our own motivations for running, but most of us do it because it’s fun. And running in costume only adds to the fun. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas for your next CosRunning adventure.

Don’t forget to Check out the other installments of Jake’s CosRunning Series. You can check out his first feature on CosRunning & his second feature, where he showed you how he brought the characters from the Cars franchise to life.  He got a little more daring in Part 3 as he channeled his inner Disney Princess and transformed into the Little Mermaid. His next installment brought you to Neverland as he created Peter Pan’s Shadow. In part 5 Jake returned to Neverland to join the Lost Boys. You can also check out our picture gallery of race costumes on our Facebook page.  If you are looking for ways to add more character to your Casual Running adventures, consider running races in Costumes.  Jake will be bringing you more great features with costuming ideas – including how he creates his great looks – that are both awesome looking and runner friendly. You can also check out our picture gallery of race costumes on our Facebook page.  

The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  See you out on the running trails!  

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