Costumed characters race for charity

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COLUMBIA - Superheros and villains alike joined forces for charity in the Cosplay Fun-K Superhero Fun Run Saturday.

Dozens of participants attended the event in full cosplay outfits. "Cosplayers" typically dress as characters from comic books, video games, folk tales, TV shows and movies. Some racers just wore logo shirts while others came in elaborate full-body suits and face paint.

Participants came alone or in full team costumes such as The Incredibles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with family and friends. Many racers also brought their pets along dressed in complete cosplay outfits including Super Dog, Bat Dog and K-9 from "Doctor Who." One runner even brought her ferret to the event.

The race was non-competitive and organizers said the main objective was to have fun. Participants met at Flat Branch Park and continued through downtown Columbia along Cherry Street toward the University of Missouri campus. During the race, organizers played popular theme music from superhero movies and TV shows.

The other objective of the Cosplay Fun-K Superhero Fun Run was to raise money for charity. The event served as a fundraiser for the Central Missouri Humane Society.

After the race cosplayers gathered for a post-run celebration and a "Mini-Comicon" with vendors and a costume contest. They also received a free beer or comic book for participating. Several costumed racers said they were excited to run for a good cause while showing off their love for their favorite characters. Others said they liked connecting with fellow Columbia residents who shared their enthusiasm for cosplay culture.

Cosplay Fun-K Superhero Fun Run organizers hope to hold the run again and raise more money for the humane society. They hope to expand the event and bring in more mid-Missouri cosplay enthusiasts for Superhero Fun Runs in the future.