Dozens of runners are hoping to set new world records as the London Marathon welcomes back fancy dress with the return of the city centre mass event.
People will be dressed as medical equipment, stars, aircraft, sweet foods while others will handcuff themselves to each other, carry bicycles or run four legged through the 26.2 mile course on October 3.
A total of 48 Guinness World Records are being attempted this year in the mass Virgin Money London Marathon.
Phil Sweatman, 49, is hoping to beat the 4.55.00 record as fastest marathon runner dressed as a heavy duty vehicle in the male category.
The retail worker, from Kent, is competing in his Guinness World Records title attempt dressed as a tractor to honour his late friend Ben Hammond who loved tractors.
Mr Hammond died in 2016 of an undiagnosed heart condition. Mr Sweatman is raising money for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young, who helped Mr Hammond’s family after he died.
“Ben’s family are amazing and they’ve been so strong all the way through,” he told the PA news agency.
“They think I’m absolutely mad for doing this. I think I’m mad too.”
Mr Sweatman has been running every day for the past year to prepare and run three runs – including one half marathon – in his tractor costume.
“At the moment I’m fairly positive about it, it’s a real rollercoaster,” he said. “One minute I think, ‘I’ve got a good chance of beating this world record’ and then the next I think, ‘no chance, absolutely no chance.’
“I’m just going to give it my best shot. It’s all about raising awareness of cardiac arrests in young people.”
Anna Bassil, 42, will meanwhile dress as a cake while Drew Mitchell, 41, will carry a bicycle on his shoulder for the duration of the run.
Ms Bassil, a quality assurance manager for a pharmaceutical company, is hoping to scoop the fastest marathon dressed as a sweet food top record in the female category.
She needs to beat the record time of 4:30:00 to scoop the record.
The decision to wear the full cake outfit, which she constructed herself using chicken wire, hoola hoops and papier-mache, was to mark her 40th birthday in 2019, the 100th anniversary of her charity Save the Children and also the marathon’s 40th race.
As Ms Bassil, who is from St Albans, has previously run half marathons in the cake costume and ran around her garden during last year’s virtual event, she decided to aim for a Guinness World Record and elevate her costume to challenge herself further.
“It’s definitely harder, and you can’t use your arms so it’s tougher on your legs,” she told PA.
“I think we all have our moments of doubt and worries, but it’s what I’ve set out to do and I will do it. Whether I do it in the time I need to do it, I’ve got my fingers crossed.
“I need the weather in my favour. I won’t be a cake with a soggy bottom by the end of the day.”
Mr Mitchell, from York, has previously run marathons in places such as Kuala Lumpur, Sydney and Dubai and is hoping to beat the time of 4:15:00.
He told PA he wanted to take on a new challenge for the London Marathon having previously competed in full Highland dress.
“The charity I’m running for is the Seashell Charity Trust, which helps children with learning difficulties and disabilities,” he said. “Cycling plays a key role in what they do for the children and I’ve also launched a new online bicycle shop, Tri-trader.com, where we sell refurbished triathlon bikes.
“I’m always after a new challenge and carrying the bike seemed like the perfect synergy of promoting the charity and opening the new shop.”
Mr Mitchell added that training was going well until he tore some ligaments in August, meaning he fell behind in his preparation for the run, but he wasn’t going to let that prevent him from doing it.
“It’s only three weeks ago I thought, ‘I might be able to do this’,” he said. “I am quite a goal orientated person so if I’m in, I’m in.”
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