At Sunday’s half-marathon, Lee Riley was the guy who made tartan the new Spandex.
In a crowd full of gym shorts, the runner from Baltimore showed up dressed in a kilt, which he said he wears out of pride for his Scottish heritage. The unconventional attire gained him some not-so-unwanted attention during the race, he said.
“I just got a lot of, ‘Hey, nice kilt,’ comments all throughout the course. I guess it kind of stands out,” he said.
And, the kilt is comfortable, he vowed. Comfortable for him, at least. Not for his wife, who is too embarrassed to be seen with him when he’s wearing it, he added.
But Riley wasn’t the only person who made a fashion statement Sunday.
One runner from Houston, Texas, arrived wearing a sparkly pink and black skirt over her running pants. Robin Truman said she traveled hundreds of miles to run the Maryland Double — races in Frederick and one in Baltimore — and she likes to look good doing it.
Because her skirt is lightweight, made of tulle, she said it doesn’t slow her down.
Some race participants opted to wear matching shirts, and more than 20 of them sported the slogan, “Run, mama, run.”–The women wearing pink shirts with this statement are part of a local running club and support group for mothers.
Jenni Gilroy, a Walkersville resident, said the group started meeting about a year ago to encourage each other to get fit. For Gilroy, running is not only a way to stay in shape, but also provides some personal space, which can be in short supply as a mother.
“It is my ‘me time,'” she said.
She said group members help each other train and give each other running playlists. Each of them has a different reason for being there, and she predicted the race would be very emotional for some of them.
Sunday’s race was also a victory for Riley, who set a personal best time by finishing under the two-hour mark. He said he was happy he’d decided to wear his kilt.
“I highly recommend it for any man or woman for a race,” he said.
Although it was noticeable to bystanders, the kilt didn’t prevent Riley from getting separated from his running partner early in the race, he said. Riley ended up jogging with another group until the very end, when he and his friend found each another again.
But he said there were supportive people all along the course.
“It might have been the most fun I’ve ever had running a race,” he said.