Wacky Guiness World Record attempts at Virgin London Marathon 2012


As one of the biggest mass participation events in the world it's no surprise that the Virgin London Marathon sees its fair share of brilliant but bonkers Guinness World Record attempts.

And in 2012, there are a number of crackers! Here's the low down on what to look out for further down the field...

Dressed as Bagpuss and Wellington the Womble, Marc Jenner and Mark Millrine will attempt to run the fastest marathons dressed as a television character and a book character, respectively.

But there'll be no hanging around for the pair as the record stands at a highly impressive three hours 21 minutes!

Marc said: "It's a really tough target and it's very hot in there," said Jenner. "I'm actually in a lose-lose situation: if it's hot, I'm hot, and if it's wet I'll be heavy. I just want to get round."

He also explained the method behind the madness: "Oliver Postgate, who created Bagpuss, was a great supporter of the hospice [their charity, Hospice of Hope] and the children's wing in Brasov, Romania, is named after the character. Oliver passed away in 2008 but gave us the right to use the Bagpuss name in our fundraising efforts."

David Lawrenson from Lancashire will go for his second record, aiming to become the tallest costume to complete a marathon, just a year after he and his friends broke the mark for the most runners linked together in a race!

The 39-year-old self-employed builder from Lancashire will don a 24ft Blackpool Tower costume - almost a foot higher than the existing record of 23ft 1inch.

He laughed: "If you're going to dress as a tall structure and you're from the North of England, you've got to do the Blackpool Tower."

He hopes to raise over £5,000 for Scope, a charity he has supported since 2005. "I'd like to extend it upwards for another 2ft and I want to ask permission to add that on so I've got a foot for every mile of the marathon."

Siblings George and Charley Phillips - who have been stilt walking from a young age and were part of the Albert & Friends Instant Circus in London - will attempt to beat eight hours 25 minutes to become the fastest marathon on stilts.

"In 2008 our mother lost her battle with lung cancer, and so in her memory we thought we would challenge ourselves to do something a bit different," said the pair who will raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Bonzo the pantomime horse - or brothers Tom and Billy Casserley from Surrey - is chasing the record for fastest marathon in a two-person costume.

The brothers, who lost their grandfather in 2008, will raise money for Help the Hospices and need to run under five hours.

"We chose the name after legendary West Ham player Billy Bonds," explained the South London Harriers who have both run brilliant sub-2:50 marathons in recent years.

"We've run quite a few marathons competitively and after a few beers we came up with the challenge. Now it's all about teamwork; it's a four-legged challenge.

Lee Ryan, a 29-year-old from London who lost his best friend to prostate and bone cancer 13 months ago, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon carrying a 20lbs pack.

"I'm optimistic and confident and I think I can run around 3 hours 30 - the record to beat is 3:49 - but I'll be happy with 3:40 or 3:45 as it's a different situation running in the crowds than on your own in training."

Michael Szymanski is making a second attempt at a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon in a fireman's uniform.

"I haven't done much training in my full kit but I've run in it before while attempting the record, so I know what it's going to feel like," he said.

He aims to raise over £4,000 for Wessex Medical Research and needs to beat 4:45. "It's a worthwhile cause to get a few blisters for," he said.

Amy Tanner and Sasha Kenney are hoping to become, respectively, the fastest marathon runners in a school uniform and the fastest to finish while hula hooping.

Tanner - with a best of 3:28:47 set at last year's Virgin London Marathon - should have a decent chance of beating the current best of 4:14 dressed in school skirt, shirt and tie (pigtails optional).

"When I was at university I loved dressing up," said the human physiology lecturer. "I still do now, so I thought I could combine my love of fancy dress with running, which I've done since I was nine.

"I picked the British Heart Foundation as my stepdad had a heart attack a few years ago. He's fine now, but I admire the work they do to educate and help those who have had heart problems."

Hula hoop expert Kenney, originally from Slovenia but now living in Wrexham, will try to beat the record of six hours while raising more than £2,000 for the NSPCC.

The inspirational fitness instructor and mother of two said: "Someone said to me it couldn't be done. I see a lot of that in my profession so I want to prove them wrong."

Good luck to all the Guinness World Record attemptees on Sunday, hopefully they will all get the last laugh!

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