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During the annual Parade of Marine Life, a perennial crowdfavorite, children and adults from around Tidewater walked through campuswearing handmade costumes portraying flounder, a jellyfish swarm, a 4-personeel, a coral reef, a bryozoan, a boxfish, and seagrass, and other marine creatures. Even local canines tookpart, with a golden lab mix named Cara dressing as a “dog shark.”

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Lemon-lime Gatorade sloshes in my stomach. The dense clouds of the early morning have burned off, and the sun beats down on the field, three-plus hours into the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon. On a shade-free stretch of highway around me, men and women alike shed their shirts as the temperature rises into the low 60s. I’m wearing a cool-enough singlet, except over it I have on a thick polyester hot dog costume, with a hood that envelops my head and a bun that reaches down past my knees.

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Pet Holiday™ Reindeer Dog Antlers at PetSmart. Shop all dog costumes online. No matter how uncomfortable I become, the costume must stay on: I’m trying to set a Guinness World Record, specifically for “fastest marathon dressed as a fast food item (female).” With 16 previous marathon finishes, I thought the quest would be a cinch. Instead, as I slog toward the finish tired, cranky, and boiling, I’m realizing Operation Hot Dog Marathon is the wurst.

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The costume delighted my buddies so much that, when I went into New York City to watch the marathon the following weekend, I decided to wear it to delight struggling runners. I made a sign that said, “HOT DOG! YOU LOOK STRONG!” and stood near the 18-mile mark. Runners loved it. Other spectators loved it. I’ve gotta run a race in this thing, I thought.

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