Meet the record breakers

MR catches up with five men hoping to break some remarkable world records at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon

What do Elsa, a chameleon, a hot dog, a beer bottle and a 100lb backpack have in common? They’re all hoping to write themselves into the Guinness World Record books at this year’s London Marathon. Intrigued, Men’s Running caught up with the men inside the costumes…

Sean Fitzpatrickwp

Name: Sean Fitzpatrick
Age: 26
Record attempt: Fastest marathon dressed as a film character
Time to beat: 2:42

There are many film characters out there; what made Elsa stand out for you?

Doesn’t every kid dream of being fairytale royalty? Admittedly, Prince Charming or Prince Eric might have been more obvious choices, but Elsa was a favourite character of the friend who I’m running in memory of. Hopefully, I will still be moving as elegantly as Elsa at mile 25!

Have you been proudly wearing the costume on your training runs or is it very much a ‘one-time only’ type of outfit?

I’m yet to pluck up the courage to do a training run in the dress, as some tailoring is required to ensure it isn’t a trip hazard. However, I intend to run a pre-marathon parkrun in full dress and wig once it’s ready.

Will you be playing the Frozen soundtrack through your headphones on the big day?

I’m hoping enough spectators on the streets of London know the words to ‘Let It Go’ such that I won’t need the soundtrack on my headphones. I’m not going to lie, I do love that song so hopefully a vocal crowd will see me through.

Describe a typical training week in the life of a World Record hopeful

Beyond the weekly manicures and facials required to look as believable a princess as possible on race day, I have been running up to 100 miles a week and racing as often as possible. I will be running the Boston Marathon six days before London so hopefully the legs will have recovered sufficiently to do the dress justice.

Sean is raising money for the Rebecca Cannon Fund, which helps homeless and vulnerable children in Surrey. Sponsor him here

 

Chirs Shirley 1 wp

Name: Chris Shirley
Age: 32
Record attempt: Fastest marathon carrying a 100lb backpack
Time to beat: Anything under 8:00

A marathon is tough enough on its own – what made you want to run it while carrying a 100lb backpack?

I recently read an article about an NBA athlete who undertakes one big challenge every year to push his boundaries of what he believes is achievable. Late last year, I decided I wanted to set a world record at London. Not being the fastest, but being able to carry heavy weight, I was naturally drawn to the 100lb record! It’s the first attempt of its kind so I just have to finish it less than eight hours, as the London Marathon only records times officially up to eight hours.

How do you train for something like this?

I train by doing resistance weights once a week (squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc), a weighted walk (full 100lb weight also once a week). Then circuits, HIIT, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the odd pilates session (although I really should do more of those).

Have you been attracting any strange looks on your training runs?

Lots!! My route takes me around Guildford city centre and it naturally draws people to give me odd looks carrying around a massive backpack.

Chris is raising money for Walking with the Wounded, which supports injured servicemen and women. Sponsor him here

 

Andy Hind wp

Name: Andy Hind
Age: 42
Record attempt: Fastest man dressed as a fast food item
Time to beat: 4:30

You’re dressing as a giant hot dog; have you been eating this item just to “get in character”?

I haven’t restricted myself to just hot dogs! However, I tend to find that I lose a lot of a weight during marathon training eating a traditionally healthy diet. And as I’m planning to run from John O’Groats to Land’s End later this year, I’ve been keeping my weight up by eating a few burgers, thick shakes and, yes, hot dogs.

Have you been proudly wearing the costume on your training runs or is it very much a ‘one-time only’ type of outfit?
I completed a parkrun in a similar costume in a time of 49 minutes – the costume weighed loads and fell apart around me as I ran. My London Marathon costume is a more lightweight version similar to the one used by Meghan Kita when she set the female record and was gifted to me by my friend, Ian.

What are the biggest challenges of running in the costume?
Previous fancy-dress running experience tells me that heat and rain will be my biggest challenges. The costume has to be enclosed to be compliant with the record requirements, which means that airflow around the face is limited and overheating is highly likely. If it rains, on the other hand, the costume will soak up water and become heavier but I’ll be cooler. I’ll be hoping for a cool spring day with neither sun nor rain!

Following London, Andy is running from John O’Groats to Land’s End, raising money for Mind. Sponsor him here

 

Charlie Long wp

Name: Charlie Long
Age: 29
Record attempt: Fastest man dressed as a bottle
Time to beat: 3:16

How did you come up with the idea of running the London Marathon dressed as a bottle?

I thought it would be an interesting challenge to attempt a Guinness World Record in an outfit. Having recently started a new career in the brewing industry working for with the Wimbledon Brewery, I thought running as a bottle would be a great way to combine my two passions!

What time do you have to beat to claim the world record?
As it stands, it is 3hrs 16mins 58secs. I am up against it slightly as the previous record was set when the guidelines allowed the bottle outfit to finish above the knee.

What are the challenges of running dressed as a bottle?
The main challenge of the wearing the outfit, now that I have had several opportunities to run in it, is the awkwardness. It is reasonably heavy, restrictive, difficult to take a drink through and gets very hot inside. However, if it were easy, it would not be a challenge!

How has your training been going?
My training took a bit of a setback when a foot injury meant that I could only manage a few runs over January and February. Since the beginning of March, however, my training has been going well. Last weekend I completed 14 miles in the outfit, followed by 7 more without. Hopefully this will give me enough mental preparation for completing the entire 26.2 miles in the costume.

Charlie is raising money for The Wimbledon Guild, providing support for vulnerable people in the Borough of Merton since 1907. Sponsor him here

 

Tom Pope wp

Name: Tom Pope
Age: 32
Record attempt: Fastest marathon in an animal costume
Time to beat: 2:48

So, which animal have you opted for? A cheetah? A horse? A greyhound?
Actually, I’m dressing up as a chameleon. I work for a high-end recruitment company in London called Chameleon International, so it’s a reference to that.

Fair play. What are the challenges of running as a chameleon?
First and foremost, you have to wear a bloody big headpiece, so you heat up a fair bit. There’s also the matter of dragging a big tail behind you, which can be a bit of a trip hazard for other runners. You also don’t get an enormous amount of flexibility through your knees so your stride is limited.

Have you been proudly wearing the costume on your training runs or is it very much a ‘one-time only’ type of outfit?
I wore it in Richmond Park a few weeks ago. I was running past a couple who were getting married in the park, and they asked me to be in one of their photos. So the chameleon has made the wedding gallery.

Your preparation for London is a tad unorthodox. Tell us more…
Everything this year has been building up to the Marathon des Sables. I come back from it a week before London. My thinking is, I’ll be as light and trained as I’ve ever been. Plus, running in a chameleon outfit is preferable to running in the Sahara Desert with 10kg on your back!

Tom is raising money for Multiple Sclerosis UK. Sponsor him here

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