Superheroes of Sale

Garvan Smith, aka The Batman of the Superheroes of Sale is a 52-year-old Hotelier from Sale. At the start of lockdown March 2020 a few keen runners dressed up in costume to bring a bit of cheer to children and adults alike of Sale whilst out on their usual runs.

“Initially strangers, several weeks later we joined forces, and The Superheroes of Sale were born. Myself (Batman), Matt Keen (Captain America), Frank Tsang (Mr. Incredible), Gordy Mills (Superman) and Richard Owens (Spiderman) ran for the first time as a group. After our 7-mile run with held a discussion on the Eskdale Lodge carpark regarding what we should set our charity donation target as. We settled on £100 and hoped that that would not come across as too greedy. The Superheroes of Sale grew in numbers and continued to run the streets of Sale and the surrounding areas.”

“The Superhero team thought it would be a great idea to raise money in the process for Ronald McDonald House Charities who were hit hard during lockdown due to not being able to hold their usual fundraising events. RMHC help families stay close to their children in hospital by providing free home from home accommodation in their aa houses across the UK. #Team RMHC are passionate about the support they give to the 6000 families helped each year.”

“Their location is as close as possible to a specialist children’s hospital across the UK meaning the families can be by their child’s bedside in a matter of moments, whilst maintaining a degree of normal life and reducing emotional and financial strain.”

From the initial target of £100, the Superheroes have now raised over £21,000.

During lockdown the team ran thousands of miles in costume and built a Superhero community of over 2,300 members on Facebook!

“Often planning our runs to visit birthdays for children (the oldest child being 102 years young) along the way and we have also supported coffee mornings, School sports days, community functions and events.”

“In October 2021 I was joined by Robin (Charlotte Dean), Wonder Woman (Tracy Smith), Supergirl (Bec Foley), Thor (Andrew Barnes) and Mr. Incredible (Frank Tsang) in running the Manchester Marathon, sadly missing Batgirl (Laura Moody-Firth), The Flash (Adam Burgess) and Captain America (Matt Keen) through injury and Captain Marvel (Sam Bagnall) due to pregnancy! All being well we will all run the Manchester Half Marathon 2022, hopefully joined by a few more Superheroes.”

What does your training plan look like?

“Whilst I spent 2020 and most of 2021 running in costume anything up to 50 miles a week, personal family issues have hampered my training since. In April I slowly got back into training with the Manchester Half Marathon a personal goal of mine. I use running as an escape from the troubles of everyday life and the perfect opportunity to be alone with my own thoughts.”

What does the term hero mean to you?

“The definition of a hero is an ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances and acting with courage, honour, and self-sacrifice. My true-life heroes are both my mother and my father. I cannot overstate how much I respect and look up to both of them. If my children think of me a small fraction of what I think of my parents, I would be a happy man.”

What are you most looking forward to on the day?

“The thing I most look forward to most on the day is the crowds. The buzz you get from people shouting out your name is immense and gives me that extra bit of drive to push on. Whilst in costume The Batman loves interacting with the crowd, so if anyone wants a chat and/or a photo please just ask!””

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon”