Meet the "Larchmont Jogger," whose colorful costumes uplift South Jersey town

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Friday, April 21, 2023
The "Larchmont Jogger" and his colorful costumes uplift South Jersey
If you see a unicorn or butterfly running down the street in Mount Laurel, it's not your imagination. It's the Larchmont Jogger.

MOUNT LAUREL TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "I've been an avid runner for about 22 years," said Rob Austin. "Really, though, when the pandemic hit, I mean it really just took on a whole new meaning."

Austin, a mechanical engineer and construction official with New Jersey's Department of Community Affairs, isn't afraid to see the sillier side of life. That's why, in March of 2020, he dressed up as Olivia Newton John and went on a run to make his friends laugh.

But as the joke became a trend, people around town started to notice. He soon earned the nickname, "Larchmont Jogger," referring to a nearby street. Others called him the "Mount Laurel Runner."

And over the last three years, his costumed crusades through town have become a long-running tradition.

"Just a simple wave and a smile. It's what I try to do," he said.

Friends and neighbors have not only enjoyed Austin's variety of costumes, but have also become good friends with him.

"The first day I met him was the day of his wedding. He had contacted me about photographing the wedding," said Kelly Silva of All Seasons Photography. "And he is the nicest, greatest man that I have ever met."

Austin's husband, Matthew Burian, seems to agree.

"That hyperactivity, just making everybody laugh and being you know, goofy, that's Rob in a nutshell," said Burian. "Even when he's at home and in our quieter moments as well."

Whether he's dressed as a unicorn, a mermaid, or a butterfly, Austin has no signs of slowing down.

"Even though we're, I guess, officially coming out of the pandemic, I know a lot of people have other issues and it's not just you know, everyone's been locked down," he said. "Even if they're having a bad day, and I run by and they see me in some crazy get-up, they might smile."

To follow the Larchmont Jogger, visit his Facebook page.

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