There is an ever-growing group of marathon competitors – from seasoned runners to first-timers – who over the last ten years have not only crossed the finish line at the biggest and most prestigious marathon event in the world, but have also written themselves into the record books.
Guinness World Records first partnered with the London Marathon in 2007 to give the most creative and ambitious fun runners the opportunity to set and break world records on marathon day – boosting their fundraising in the process. In that time, applications have jumped from nine in 2007 to a whopping 130 for the 2017 instalment – 73 of which have been approved for the race.
A huge 262 world records have been broken since 2007, and millions of pounds raised for charity. The records featured in the 10th anniversary highlights video include:
FASTEST: Matt Grunby from Cambridgeshire has set the fastest Guinness World Records title, clocking up an almost elite time of 2 hr 27 min 43 sec in 2016. He achieved the record in the Fastest marathon dressed as a superhero category.
SLOWEST: John Bedford from Leeds has the honour of taking the longest to achieve a world record – and has a good reason for it too. His record is in the Fastest marathon in a bomb disposal suit category, and he took 9 hr 40 min 01 sec* in 2011. His record was smashed by Iain Church (Oxfordshire) in 2015, who took 6 hr 28 min 6 sec. (*Runners are now required by the Virgin Money London Marathon to finish under 8 hr 15 min)
MOST CONSECUTIVE SUB 3 HOURS: The hugely impressive Chris Finill, from Surrey, ran 33 sub-three hour London Marathon races between 1981 and 2013. He was 21 when he started and 54 for his final sub-three effort.
HEAVIEST: Chris Shirley took on the gruelling challenge of carrying 100lbs around the 26 mile course in 2016, achieving a time of 7 hr 43 min 26 sec. The former soldier achieved the record in the Fastest time to run a marathon carrying a 100 lb pack category.
LOUDEST: The Huddersfield University Marching Band marched AND PLAYED their way around the course in 7 hr 55 min 00 sec in 2011, achieving the record for the Fastest marathon by a marching band. The 22-person strong band then shaved almost an hour off their record in 2014, finishing in a time of 6 hr 56 min 48 sec.
A JAW DROPPING WORLD FIRST! 2008 saw the charity Greenforce fly six Maasai Warriors from their native Tanzania to the UK, to run the London Marathon. It was the first time they had ever left Tanzania. Taking part at the marathon helped the charity raise £114,000, which paid for a fresh water well in the warriors’ village – and the next village along. Having completed the marathon in 5 hr 24 min 47 sec, they also returned to Tanzania with a world record for the Fastest group of Maasai Warriors to complete a marathon.
WACKIEST: Bob Johnson (58, from the Scottish Boarders) must be the most dedicated and skilled runner the 10 year partnership has seen. He has run 16 London Marathons in a row now, and in 2015 he achieved the record for the Fastest marathon as a three-dimensional bird – an Ostrich costume that really must be seen to be believed – achieving a time of 5 hr 55 min 8 sec. His impressively detailed costumes also include a two-person canoe and a Dalek. Bob can be seen running as a giant Mr Potato head on 23 April.
Another fantastic story from the last 10 years is that of Mr Steve Chalke. On a fundraising mission in 2011, Steve’s campaign for The Oasis Charitable Trust gathered incredible momentum and with the support of fundraising functions and events, press coverage and social media, he managed to raise £2,330,159.38, a fantastic and selfless achievement that earned him the record for the Most money raised by a marathon runner.
On 23 April 2017, 73 world records are being attempted, featuring 86 runners. A team of Guinness World Records adjudicators will be on hand to check costumes, verify times and confirm successful runners as official GWR titleholders, earning them a place in the 2018 book out in September.
Guinness World Records will be providing live results from the finish line of the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon (23 April) via Twitter @GWR.