Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 (34^ ed.). Mele rosa ambulanti, polli e un cavallo chiamato Colin puntano al Guinness dei record: famolo strano e, divertendoci, raccogliamo fondi!
Anche quest'anno la Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 sarà la maratona dei Record da inscrivere nel Guinnes dei primati: molti dei quali bizzarri e, quantomeno bislacchi - ma che, regolarmente annunciati, saranno sottoposti a sorveglianza da parte dei numerosi giudici Guinness, presenti sul campo, che saranno indaffarati a tenere d'occhio oltre diverse 40 categorie, tra le quali solo per citarne alcune: l'uomo che correrà più velocemente la maratona sulle stampelle, quello o quella che la correrà più velocemente indossando scarpe con i tchhi alti, per non tralasciare un certo Tony Phoenix-Morrison che, con un curriculum di 150 maratone alle sue spalle, ne ha corse 61 trasportando sulle spalle un frigorifero del peso di 42 kg.
Per non parlare di tutti coloro che indosseranno trasvestimenti, tra i più disparati, come il pollo, la mela, la fragola, il rinoceronte.
Molti di costoro, oltre a tentare un record da inscrivere nel Guinness dei primati, corrono per una causa caritatevole, impegnati a raccogliere delle consistenti somme di denaro, in cambio del pettorale. Insomma, si entra in un mondo che è quasi inconcebile per i "seriosi" podisti italiani: un mondo in cui ci si diverte, imprimendo la propria firma unica ad un evento sportivo di grandi dimensioni ("famolo strano e più strano è meglio é"), legando il proprio nome ad un personaggio o ad una specifica performance, e utilizzando tutto ciò per raccogliere fondi per una specifica causa caritatevole, beninteso in una maniera che ancora in Italia non si è capaci di praticare. Cioè, ognuno annuncia prima che, per avere il pettorale, raccoglierà tot sterline per uno specico scopo (legando il proprio pettorale ad un'associazione o ad una causa caritatevole) e se non dovesse raccogliere la somma annunciata nella sua interezza, dovrà mettere i soldi mancanti al raggiungimento di quel totale di tasca propria.
The Guinness World Record judges will once again have a busy day at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, with more than 40 categories being targeted by marathon entrants.
These include the fastest marathon on crutches, the fastest wearing chainmail and the fastest in high heels.
One of the most impressive feats, however, is being attempted by Tony Phoenix-Morrison who will run his 150th marathon, his 62nd carrying a 42kg fridge on his back.
The 49-year-old, who previously ran the length of Britain in 40 days with the fridge, must finish in less than five hours to break the record for carrying a household appliance.
Phoenix-Morrison has been known to suffer from a sore ‘tortoise' neck after running with the fridge, but otherwise is in surprisingly great physical shape.
"People ask about back problems but I had an MRI scan last year and I'm very fortunate - the results were fabulous," he said. "I'm in the top 1% of people of my age in the world back-wise. The chap said I have the back of a 16-year-old. Pity I don't have the face."
He is running for Cancer Research UK and has reason to be grateful for modern technology.
"In the old days we used to have a hole in the side which said donate here," he explained. "But people would come along with buckets of coins. Children would be lined up to put money in and we'd end up with a 60kg fridge. Now we're fortunate it's just a text code for people to donate."
John Melbourne will run dressed as a chicken attempting to break the record for fastest man to complete a marathon in a full-body animal costume.
An experienced marathon runner, he is raising money for the British Hen Welfare Trust and explained the thinking behind his idea.
"I've done about 30 marathons and 10 ultra-marathons and I run consistently 60 or 70 miles a week - anything up to 100 miles," he said. "I love doing big events and pushing myself. I thought ‘What's the next thing I could try?' So I came up with the chicken costume."
The record stands at 3 hours 31 minutes and was completed by someone dressed as a gorilla. "The chicken will beat the gorilla on Sunday," joked Melbourne.
Karen Shrimpton is one of four women attempting to run the fastest marathon in a four-person costume, dressed in a Michael Morpurgo-inspired ‘War Horse' suit called ‘Colin'.
The Chichester-based group have mainly trained with different friends to fit into hectic schedules, but have completed 10-mile, 15-mile and 20-mile runs along sea-fronts where they find there's more room for the large outfit.
"In 2006 a group of friends and myself ran the London Marathon as a pantomime horse," explained Shrimpton. "Then we went to see 'War Horse' on stage and saw the puppets. We thought that's the thing to run in. I managed to con my colleague Penny Patten to do it and got her husband to make us the war horse. We ran in 2011and 2012 but a company in Chichester informed us they could make a much lighter one out of fibreglass and they made us this wonderful present. Four people can carry him so we're going for the world record."
Shrimpton, Patten, Debbie Bell and Sharon Ellis will aim to finish in seven hours to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
Sid Keyte, 43, from Salisbury is running dressed as a telephone box to raise money for the mental health charity, Mind. He needs to beat six hours for the record.
"I've confused a lot of people on Salisbury Plain where I train," he said. "Tank commanders, dogs and horses have all had issues with me. Drivers on the road are quite dangerous too.
"You get two types of drivers, those who slam their horn and shout ‘woohoo', and those who turn to their partner and ask them to look the other way because there's a mad guy running around in a phone box. So, I've had some challenges."
Sally Orange has had her share of challenges too. She has served in the British army as a physiotherapist and previously ran a marathon inside Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. Despite her name, she is running as a Pink Lady apple, aiming to break her own record for fastest marathon dressed as a fruit (female).
Something of a fruit obsessive, she has previously run as a banana, an orange and a pear. Orange, who'll be raising money for Combat Stress and Help for Heroes, explained: "The banana was more streamlined but Pink Lady have actually sponsored me for this and have been fantastic with their support.
"Both charities are close to my heart. Having served in Afghanistan, I understanding what those charities are able to do to help people. I've seen people in Camp Bastion on the operating table, all the way through to when I worked at a recovery centre for Help for Heroes. The 40-year-old from Stafford already has one eye on the future, adding: 'I've seen a nice pineapple, and a kumquat'.
Hopefully, at least some of these hard-working marathoners will add their names to the roster of Guinness World Record breakers on Sunday.
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