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Peeling out: Amherst jogger spreads joy in banana costume

Posted at 1:02 PM, Dec 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-30 13:18:01-05

AMHERST, Ohio — Running isn’t always the most enjoyable activity, as tough as it is on the mind it’s even rougher on your knees and ankles.

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

Matt Drol has become known for sporting the yellow banana suit around Amherst, and he’s easy to point out anytime you see him running through town.

“If it makes people happy and makes people smile, I’ll keep doing it, Drol said.

Drol never fancied himself much of a runner but wanted to make training for a race as fun as he could give the challenges that race prep can pose on the mind and the body.’

“I just decided ‘Hey, I’m going to run some races in a banana costume.” Drol said. “I wasn’t in shape for it and I just kind of got to the point where I was like ‘let’s have some fun with it, i’m going to be slow, so let’s have some fun.’”

Over the last three years, it’s gone bananas. Wearing his sneakers and banana suit, he’s logged more than 2,500 miles and run countless races in costume. His original attire was ceremoniously retired a long time ago, Drol keeps his eyes peeled on sites like Amazon and discount Halloween stores to keep stocked up on his new running apparel.

“A typical banana funeral includes some Sarah McLaughlin. I’m working on getting a bagpipe for the next one, play some Amazing Grace,” he said. “A lot of it is my wife yelling at me that it stinks, and it needs to get out of the house.”

For as much as his wife complains about the smell, she’s also gotten in on the banana bonanza along with their children.

“I didn’t think I would be in the city Christmas parade,” Drol said. “It was just like forest Gump I just felt like running.”

As for how long his banana antics will continue, Drol said he’s just happy to bring a little joy to people’s lives every day. He’s got no plans as of right now to stop running in costume.

“The minute you’re not having fun or the minute it becomes work, it becomes harder to do,” Drol said. “If you’re not having fun, if you’re not enjoying it, you’re not going to want to do it.”

Drol even has his eyes set on a bigger prize come next year. He’s shooting for the Guinness World Record for the fastest half-marathon as a banana. The current record is a little over two hours, but Drol has timed it out to where he can get it done in just over 90 minutes.

“It’s just fun to throw the banana costume on, pick out some silly shoes or a silly headband and go have some fun,” Drol said. “When you make people smile, or laugh or anything like that, it makes me feel good.”

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