By Katelyn Litvan, Elon University

Superman and Batman couldn’t make it, but there was no shortage of superheroes taking part in the recent Great Cape Escape race at Sullivan Foundation partner school Elon University.

For the seventh year in a row, racers donned capes, masks and costumes and laced up their running shoes. Held virtually across multiple days—instead of gathering runners together to simultaneously run a single route—the Great Cape Escape race kicked off on Sept. 18 and closed on Oct. 10. Participants had three weeks to complete a 5k or 10k run or both.

All the profits from the race went towards the Open Door Clinic, which provides quality health care at no cost to the uninsured of Alamance County. This year’s event raised more than $17,000, enough money to cover all medications for Open Door patients for an entire year.

The hero-themed race took on a virtual form for the second year in a row due to pandemic restrictions. While runners were able to participate at any time throughout the three-week race period, virtual festivities were held on Oct. 9. The online event awarded top runners and celebrated the total amount raised by sponsors and participants.

“We decided to be virtual again this year out of an abundance of caution,” said Morgan Darrow, an Elon physician assistant studies student and member of the Great Cape Escape planning committee. “We thought of ways we could ensure none of the participants would get sick but, with the way things have been with COVID, we hated to risk it.”

Racers were able to log their miles through the ItsYourRace website. Although the Great Cape Escape website provided some pre-measured race routes, racers were encouraged to get creative with their miles by running on the beach, forest or open road.

More than 130 participants took part in this year’s race. “The best thing about having a virtual race was that heroes from across the country were able to support it,” said Darrow. “We even had runners from Vermont and Indiana!”

Despite the flexibility that the virtual race format offers, the race organizers hope to hold the race in person next fall. “We love getting to see everyone in person in their superhero attire and see everyone supporting the Open Door Clinic,” Darrow added.

The Open Door Clinic of Alamance County treats over 600 patients a year. The Elon University Physician’s Assistant program volunteers at many of the clinic’s fundraising events. More information can be found here.

This article has been edited from the original version appearing on the Elon University website.

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