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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Hammer time: Gainesville’s Thor brings joy through weekly runs

The runner is another addition to Gainesville’s growing list of superheroes

Robb Eggleston stands dressed as Thor at 4th Ave Food Park on Sunday, May 19, 2024.
Robb Eggleston stands dressed as Thor at 4th Ave Food Park on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

When faced with the trials and tribulations of midlife monotony, middle-aged adults find their ways of coping. Some people buy Corvettes. Others may get a new tattoo. But Robb Eggleston took a different approach. 

Donning a winged helmet, a lightning-decorated fanny pack and a toy hammer, Eggleston embarks on a weekly run every Thursday — or as he calls it, “Thorsday.”

When Eggleston, 53, took up the mantle of the Norse thunder god, he said he did it to serve his community.

“I’m just trying to spread a little joy in town,” Eggleston said. “Remind people that it’s OK to be an adult and be a little silly.”

Eggleston said his reasons for choosing Thor came from two places.

“I’m originally from Minnesota, and there we have the Minnesota Vikings, of course,” he said. “Most of my family’s from Sweden, straight off the boat, so you know, the Norse mythology spoke to me for sure.”

Eggleston said his journey as Thor began a few years ago after finding inspiration from a fellow runner attending Gainesville’s annual 3-mile Jack Gamble Melon Run.

“I think it was during a Melon Run,” he said. “Somebody had mentioned that they were gonna go as Captain America.”

Eggleston said the idea made him act quickly.

“I said, well, we need to get the Avengers together,” he said. “That turned into me looking on Google for an outfit.”

Eggleston said he bought his Thor costume for less than a hundred dollars.

“Most of this I put together on either Amazon or eBay,” he said. “It sort of piecemealed together.”

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He hopes to spread positivity throughout the community. Eggleston said.

“My hope is that people, you know, see me running down the street and being ridiculous,” he said. “It elicits a smile or a giggle and somebody honks their horn and screams out the window like yeah, that’s awesome!”

With the advent of Joey Alfonso’s Batman, Gainesville is no stranger to real-life superheroes. Alfonso has run alongside Eggleston on multiple occasions.

“Me and Robb go way back,” Alfonso said. “He’s a hidden gem in the city of Gainesville.”

He praised Eggleston for his charitability and dedication to those around him.

“He serves his community, participates in many charity runs and puts a smile on everybody’s face while doing it,” Alfonso said.

Eggleston describes his interest in running as a part of a “mid-life crisis.”

“I couldn’t afford a new Corvette for my mid-life crisis,” he said, “but I could afford a pair of running shoes.”

His 18-year-old daughter, Andi Eggleston, said she is supportive of her dad’s hobby.

“It’s really cool to see my dad doing something that makes him and other people around him happy,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun being a part of this and getting to see how he impacts people, along with the support he gets from everyone.”

In particular, she credited traveling as one of her favorite parts of having Eggleston as her father.

“It’s also been fun traveling with Thor and spreading the love outside of Gainesville,” she said. “Overall I’m very happy for him and his inspiring journey!”

Eggleston cited kindness as the most important aspect of his story.

“It’s OK to have a rough day, but it’s also good to remember those little pockets of joy,” he said. “Kindness should be your default mode.”

Contact Ben Nielsen at bnielsen@alligator.org. Follow him on X @benknielsen.

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Ben Nielsen

Ben Nielsen is The Alligator’s Multimedia Editor. He formerly worked as The Alligator's videographer, and began working as multimedia editor in January 2024. He specializes in visual storytelling and manages photos, graphics and videos.


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