It all started quite innocently. I volunteered to be a pace bunny for Ottawa Race Weekend and when I discovered that I had to wear a shirt that was too big and a hat with ears on it, I decided If I had to look silly why not look really silly. I went to Walmart and bought a bright pink skirt, added a giant pompom for a tail and covered my shoes with bunny covers from the dollar store.
This continued for a couple of years. Then I met Chris Bright a fellow pace bunny dressed in a shirt made entirely of old potato chip bags (because he was running on chip time not gun time). We joined forces and became the 60 minute 10K bunnies. It all went downhill from there!
The first year we joined forces we went for a 60’s theme. We had signs that urged runners to “make pace not war” and to “give pace a chance”. We wore matching dresses and carried purses full of candy which we threw to children along the route. The plus side of this costume was that the dresses were short and lightweight and carrying a purse allows one to avoid that pesky gear check. It was a bit of a challenge finding a dress for Chris who stands well over 6 feet at the local thrift shop and we did cause some confusion when we went shopping for matching purses.
After that Chris took control of the costumes. He has never said so but I have to wonder if it had something to do with me making him run in a dress the first year. Year two we were the Pasta Bunnies. We carried signs that said “Get pasta bunny” , “I’m pasta than you”. Chris out did himself. He painted pieces of pasta and glued them individually to T-shirts for each of us. The finished product looked great but the shirts were heavy and by the time we went to run in them they had hardened. The only way to get them on or off. was to have someone help you lift them over your head. I felt like a knight putting on armor before going into battle. Because of the weight the shirt bounced up and down and rattled as I ran. I have also been told I left a trail of pasta along the race course. All I can say is thank goodness it did not rain.
Our most challenging outfits came the following year when we were the dust bunnies, the signs said “Don’t let us leave you in our dust” and the costumes were hazmat suits which Chris had covered with old dryer lint. The costumes were lightweight but the hazmat suits don’t let any air in or out. It was a hot day and we absolutely roasted in the outfits. I have done the Ironman is Hawaii and I can honestly say 10k in a Hazmat suit was hotter. After the race my running gear was so wet I was able to wring it out! Lesson learned- always bring scissors for last minute venting!
We went from dust bunnies to Bugs Bunnies. The Bugs Bunnies outfits were light and straight forward the only downside was that we had to explain them to everyone!
This brings us to 2013 where we appeared as the Bad bunnies who ran with scissors. On the plus side Chris made giant lightweight scissors which were easy to carry. On the downside it was difficult to negotiate a crowded run course without poking someone in the eye. I guess that’s why we were always told not to run with scissors.
In 2014. We were the mutant bunnies. We were “All ears”
In 2015. I got hit by a car riding my bike a month before the race. I broke my elbow and the cast had only been off for a couple of days so Chris came up with the biggest costume yet. We were the magic bunnies. The giant hat was a great rest for the broken arm but I got a lot of chafing on the non-broken one. It was also very difficult to get through the crowd.
In 2016 We were the “Honey Bunnies” it rained and bits of our honeycomb fell off!
In 2017 we were the Easter Bunnies. Everyone got it but running 10 k with a basket on your head is a talent I have yet to acquire. I ran most of the way with one hand on my head to keep the basket from falling off. It makes it very hard to see your watch.
We made our tenth and final appearance in 2018 as the Space Bunnies. The helmets were made from basketballs and the paint was not dry. I could not hear a thing and I had paint in my hair for a week but we really amused a couple of people we met from the Canadian Space Agency! After 10 year’s it’s time to pass the torch !
Always bring scissors and safety pins for last minute wardrobe malfunctions
Body Glide is a wonderful thing
If you are going dress up and look silly Chris Bright is a great guy to do it with!
A final note, just for the record. We may have dressed funny but we took the pacing seriously. The Ottawa Race Weekend Pace Bunnies program run by Mark Wigmore is a very accurate group. There is a contest each year to see who can get closest to their exact pace time. The winner gets a bag of carrots and a set of golden ears. Between us Chris and I won four sets of golden ears.