A Young Professional Becomes Batman for a Good Cause

Batman will run in Sunday’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Toronto’s very own real-life Batman, JP Hernandez, a Toronto resident and father, returns to run the marathon for the second year in a row dressed as Batman. Last year, he ran as the caped crusader and raised $1,100 for SickKids Hospital.

But this year, he’s back to do it even bigger and better – and with a brand new costume.

And it doesn’t look like he’s going to retire the look or the effort any time soon. After suffering a near-fatal appendix rupture as a child, JP had an extended stay at The Hospital for Sick Children and remains committed to raising funds in support of the hospital, which treats approximately 15,000 children per year. 

We caught up with Hernandez to hear a little more about it. 

Why the costume? Why batman in particular?
I chose Batman because he’s arguably the most human out of all the super heroes. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his city, and he does it so that no one suffers.

Because I’m a parent, I sympathize and can only begin to imagine what other parents go through and have to watch their children endure when they are sick. If what I do can help to ease their child’s suffering in any way, then I’ll continue doing marathons because these kids are the real super heroes, and they’re Batman’s heroes.

What is your fundraising goal this year?
I entered the marathon through Scotiabank’s charity challenge, which gives Canadians the opportunity to run for a cause and raise money for something close to their hearts. This year, my goal is to raise $100 for every kilometre run, for a total of $4220 for Sick Kids Hospital.

Can you tell us about your new and improved costume? What’s the best part about it?
This year, it’s a more solid compression top and bottom that I’ll be wearing to help reduce fatigue to my body. Last year, I ironed on the logo; this year, I hand stitched it myself with no sewing machine. I’m still thankful my mother taught me how to sew a little.

How do you train for the marathon? Do you run throughout the year?
I probably run about 4-5 days a week when training for a marathon, logging around 200+K per month. I run often throughout the year – I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t running unless I was recovering from an injury.

Are you involved in any other charitable initiatives?
I primarily run for Sick Kids, but in June I participated in the SuperHero 5k for KidsAbility in Guelph. That was a fun time. I would very much like to help other charities in any way I can.

What’s the most rewarding part of the whole experience?
The best part is being able to help and knowing that we can help. Running is a simple movement, and it mirrors how to endure and persevere in life – keep moving forward.

In running, I’ve learned to be able to hope again. To quote from the film ‘Man of Steel’: “Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief in the capacity of every person to be a force for good.” 

If what I do can help one child to be inspired, as he or she has inspired me, then that is my reward. Being a super hero is a service job, and the hope is that it inspires others around to help. Why would I not help if I can by putting on a costume and running? It’s been a blessing to be able to do so.

You can support Hernandez at his fundraising link and follow him on social media: Facebook; The Dark Knight Runner, and on Twitter; @rundarkknight.

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All images from: www.facebook.com/torontodarkknightrunner

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