Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America and other superheroes packed the Park at River Walk on Saturday.
Hundreds of people — as well as a few dogs — came dressed as their favorite superheroes for the annual Superhero Run, put on by the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kern County. The event included a 10K, 5K and 2K Run/Walk, costume contest and several vendors.
The event raises money and awareness for CASA, a nationwide organization made up of community advocates who represent abused and neglected foster children.
Erica Zeimet-Cameron came to the event with her husband and two kids. She came dressed as Wonder Woman while her husband Rich was dressed as Captain America. Her son luke came dressed as Spider Man.
Zeimet-Cameron said she participated in the 5K last year and wanted to test herself by going for the 10K this year. The rest of her family did the 2K race.
“I enjoy running. I like getting my kids out for races, so I appreciate events that have shorter races specifically for kids to get them interested in the sport,” she said. “The superhero theme is a big part of the appeal. It’s a fun day for the whole family.”
Zeimet-Cameron said she is a teacher at North High School and works frequently with foster children.
“I understand the struggles that they face, so I fully support and appreciate the people who are willing to volunteer for CASA because they are so needed,” she said. “Those kids need a voice.”
Marivic Louey is a frequent participant in the Superhero run, having done it three times in the past.
“I believe in CASA. I support them at a lot of their events,” she said. “This is one of my favorites. It brings a lot of awareness and it brings the kids out in all of us. It’s wonderful.”
Jannette Pedersen came with her husband Chris to the Superhero Run. They came dressed as Supergirl and Iron Man. Their costumes drew the attention of another participant in the event.
“A little girl dressed up as Spider Man came up to (Rich) asking if he was the real Iron Man. It was really sweet,” Pedersen said.
Pedersen, who has served on the board of directors for CASA of Kern County for the last couple of years, said she likes the superhero theme of the event because it makes the kids — as well as some adults — feel good about themselves.
“The kids feel empowered,” she said. “There’s a lot of hope in superpowers, being able to change challenging situations into situations of potential and growth.”
Saturday’s event was the first time that Pedersen said she has actively participated in the event. In the past, she has volunteered her time helping run the event. Pedersen and her husband completed the 5K race.
“It’s about bringing the community together, bringing awareness to the cause,” she said. “People who come just to run find out about our organization, and some sign up to go through training to become advocates. The children that we serve are children that need help.”