Purification: Amherst runner spreads joy dressed as a banana

AMHERST, Ohio. Running is not always the most enjoyable activity, as hard as it is for the mind, it is even harder for your knees and ankles.

For a local man, he decided what better way to brighten up his day by running in a full banana suit.

Matt Drole became famous for wearing the banana yellow suit in Amherst and is easy to spot anytime you see him running around town.

“If it makes people happy and makes them smile, I will keep doing it,” Drol said.

Drol never considered himself a runner but wanted race preparation to be as fun as he could be to the challenge that race preparation can put on the mind and body.”

“I just thought, ‘Hey, I’m going to run a few races in a banana suit.’ Drol said. “I was out of shape for this and I just got to the point where I said, ‘Let’s have some fun, I’ll be slow, so let’s have some fun.’

Over the past three years, everything has gone awry. Wearing running shoes and a banana suit, he rode over 2,500 miles and competed in countless races in the suit. His original outfit was ceremonially retired a long time ago, and Drol keeps his eyes on sites like Amazon and Halloween discount stores to stock up on his new running clothes.

“A typical banana funeral would include a Sarah McLaughlin. I’m working on getting bagpipes for the next one, play something from Amazing Grace,” he said. “A lot of it is my wife yelling at me that it stinks and needs to be removed from the house.”

Despite his wife complaining about the smell, she also fell into the banana bonanza along with their children.

“I didn’t think I’d be in the city’s Christmas parade,” Drol said. “It was like Forrest Gump, I just wanted to run.”

As for how long his banana antics will last, Drol said he’s just happy to bring a little bit of joy into people’s lives every day. At the moment, he has no plans to stop running in suits.

“The minute you’re not having fun, or the minute it becomes work, it gets harder,” Drol said. “If you don’t have fun, if you don’t like it, you don’t want to do it.”

Drol even set his sights on a bigger prize next year. He claims a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest half marathon runner in the role of a banana. The current record is just over two hours, but Drol has timed it to just over 90 minutes.

“It’s just fun to put on a banana costume, choose stupid shoes or a stupid headband and go out and have some fun,” Drol said. “When you make people smile or laugh or something like that, I feel good.”

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