If you’re at all involved in the Austin running community, and especially if you’re involved with Rogue, you’ve heard of CASA of Travis County and the Superhero Run. This local 5K isn’t just one of the fastest-growing local races, it’s also one of the most fun and benefits those who need it most but are oft-overlooked – abused and neglected children.
The history of the race and how CASA became involved is an inspiring one – read on to find out how the VP of Sales at Bazaarvoice started it all:
AUSTIN, TEXAS (August 31, 2011) – Three years ago Matt Curtin awoke from a dream with a big goal: End child abuse. His dream came complete with a tagline, “Every child needs a hero, but abused children need superheroes!” Matt realized child abuse prevention as a cause had a marketing problem. Unlike cancer which many can identify with, child abuse is usually a well-kept secret. The fact is that with an estimated 763,000 children victims of maltreatment in our country in 2009, child abuse affects us all—whether we are aware of it or not.
With a big goal and a great tagline, Matt Curtin, VP of Sales at Bazaarvoice, started The Superhero Foundation. Working with other child abuse prevention organizations, he created the idea of a Superhero Run to raise awareness while also raising funds to help victims of child abuse in their recovery. Little did he know how this superhero movement would catch fire! After 2 years of successful events in Austin and Pittsburgh, The Superhero Foundation decided to partner exclusively with CASA organizations believing that CASA volunteers are true superheroes for children who’ve been abused or neglected. Their first CASA partnership with CASA of Henrico County in Richmond, Virginia garnered major sponsors like Nike, Dominion, The Martin Agency, and Whole Foods.
The local partnership with CASA of Travis County led to the biggest race yet – 1,100 people in September 2010. Since then, CASA programs across the country have been joining the movement. There are now Superhero Runs either happening or in the planning stages in Austin, Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, Mobile, Pittsburgh, Richmond, and across our state as Texas CASA has signed on the Superhero Run theme for their series of races in 21 counties.
Matt is seeing his vision come to life. “This isn’t just an exciting fundraiser with great costumes. It is a message that really hits home for people in helping them understand the child abuse epidemic,” says Matt, himself the father of two girls. At CASA of Travis County’s 2010 race even the children were getting the message. One woman said, “We had a BLAST on Sunday. My son remarked to me before the event that, ‘If abused kids see that other kids are superheroes, then they’ll know that they can be superheroes too.’ I love that you have an event that can engage kids to think about these issues compassionately.”
Matt attends every Superhero Run he can get to around the country. Running the 5K in his Superman muscle shirt and cape, Matt says for him it’s much more than a 3 mile run – it’s his own personal race to end child abuse.
CASA of Travis County will host its second Superhero Run on September 25th at 7 am at The Domain. The race will feature over 1,000 runners and many youth and adults in full superhero costumes.