|Michael Wheeler Runs For Peace|
Actually, who you are seeing flying through the streets of Kansas City is Michael Wheeler, a local man who loves to run and spread a message of peace. "I'm running for the Lord and sharing his goodness with others," he says.
Wheeler was born in Oklahoma, but he moved to Kansas City as a four-year-old boy. He discovered his skill for running one day when he was being bullied and took off to escape the violence.
At nineteen, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam. It was during this time that he became addicted to drugs and his life took a dark turn.
Things changed, however, when he met a minister who prayed for him. For Wheeler, this was the beginning of a permanent change in his life. He became a man of God and has been drug free for more than forty years.
Still, his life path has not been easy. Shortly after his sister was brutally murdered, Wheeler, who was now a preacher himself, became involved with community leader Alvin Brooks and his anticrime group.
One day in the late '80s, when the group was marching on a drug house across the street from where Wheeler grew up, one of the dealers came out of the house and beat him with a 2x4 board.
Wheeler was seriously injured, but after his recovery, he was able to meet with President George H.W. Bush about community antidrug and anticrime efforts when Bush visited Kansas City in 1990.
Today, Wheeler is 63 years old and shows no signs of slowing down. He has run more 200,000 miles and has taken part in more than 130 marathons across the country - including the Boston Marathon.
Recently, he ran "unofficially" in Kansas City's Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure marathon and came in second place. You will also see him running regularly through the Plaza/Midtown area, downtown, or even in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium on game days.
Although he has only been wearing the Superman costume for about four years, his mission has always been the same - "I love to put a smile on people's faces, entertain, and inspire," says Wheeler.
As for what is next for Kansas City's very own Superman, he is planning a "Super Run For Peace," between Kansas City and St. Louis - based on the events that have taken place in Ferguson, MO, since the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Wheeler estimates that the run will take about four days and hopes that others will join him in his mission to bring people together and create a better world.
Good luck Superman, and may your mission for peace be successful!