Long-time runner dons distinctive, unique outfit

Lionel Valerín in his running gear. Photo: Connie Foss

One of the well-known characters among racing participants is Lionel Valerín, who is frequently running not only in the Central Valley but also in other countries. What makes him unusual is that he wears an Indian headdress and face paint with a doll on his back papoose fashion.

Sunday he was in Tibás for an 11.5-kilometer race, one of many sponsored by the Lion’s Club San Juan del Murciélago, to raise funds for the program “La Vista Primero,” which provides vision exams and cataract operations to people who cannot afford these services. Several hundred persons participated.

Valerín also carries a small bow, as in bow and arrow. He said he has been running community races for 16 years. He said he wears the Indian costume because he “respects the Indians.” On the headdress Jesus is painted in bright letters and on his tunic is the message: Corro por Jesus (I run for Jesus).

Valerín relaxed after the race, posing for photos with admirers and chatting in English. He said that he runs 11 marathons each year, dressed in his costume. He runs nine marathons in Costa Rica, one in Panama, and one in Berlin, Germany.

The next full marathon is Sunday in the vicinity of Parque la Sabana and Rohrmoser.

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