The Dark Knight Runner’ first appeared in October 2013 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Inspired by a photo he’d seen of four people dressed as superheroes washing the windows of a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh, JP ran his first marathon dressed as Batman.
He wanted to share the same happiness and hope he’d seen the window-washers inspire as he ran. He was supporting a cause close to his heart: in 1983, at the age of seven, JP was rushed to SickKids, where he was treated for a ruptured appendix. That positive experience stuck with him. And it’s why he chose to dedicate that first marathon to SickKids.
“Finishing a marathon has many purposes for those who run, but I knew it would be great to do something for the hospital that saved my life,” said JP.
“The image of Batman running for charity resonated,” says JP, “To see the young children’s faces along the route light up, and then be offered a high five – that was amazing.”
And it made a difference. Running his first marathon dressed as Batman, JP raised close to $1,100.
JP carried that feeling through five years of races. And he picked up friends along the way. After getting noticed on social media, others were inspired to run as superheroes while fundraising. Soon after, the Justice League Runners formed, and could be found at races across the city.
While JP ran for the last time as The Dark Knight Runner in 2018, what he got from running for SickKids has stayed with him.
“Because of the time I was Batman,” he says, “it allowed me to change careers. Now I’m studying to work in the healthcare field as an Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapist Assistant. I’m in my second year at Durham College in Oshawa. None of this would have happened if not for running for SickKids.”
The SickKids Warriors program was not ‘up and running’ when JP ran as the Caped Crusader. But he ran with the spirit of a SickKids Warrior. You can, too.
When you decide to run your race as a fundraiser for SickKids, you become a SickKids Warrior. It’s easy to do. And when you challenge yourself, kids win. Click here to register to run through the SickKids website.