From the day Pheidippides made his infamous journey in 490 BC people have been strapping on their sandals (and more recently running shoes) and running just over 26 miles for the fun of it.
While we can't all run a marathon as fast as Eliud Kipchoge or Paula Radcliffe, that doesn't stop us wanting to be the best. That is why we have extended our running gear to include fancy dress, washing machines and even stilts.
Guinness World Records (GWR) works with a number of events including the Virgin Money London Marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Blackmore's Sydney Marathon and the BMW Berlin Marathon. But you're not restricted to these.
Here are our top 10 tips to have an Officially Amazing race day.
1. Get out and run
If the only running you've done recently is running a bath after a long day then you might want to consider pulling on your shoes and getting outdoors. Running a marathon is no easy feat on its own so adding a restriction such as a costume or heavy load is only going to make it more difficult. Be aware of your abilities before applying for that race.
2. Apply for that race
There are more marathons happening across the globe than ever before so take your time to chose one that suits you. To qualify for a Guinness World Records title your run will need to be at an officially sanctioned race, certified by a national athletic governing body - e.g. USA Track and Field or United Kingdom Athletics - so take that into consideration. Also some marathons don't allow costumes or have restrictions on what types are allowed, so keep that in mind when making your decision. Most importantly of all is to be realistic with your timeframes. Don't book a marathon happening next Wednesday if you haven’t made any decisions on which record you want to break.
3. Be inspired
You know you want to run. You know you want a challenge. But which one? There are a host of possibilities. From weighted packs for the super fit to dressing as your kids favourite cartoon character to make them proud. Maybe there's a group of you and you want to try and break a record together. Find something that means something to you and embrace it. Alternatively have a look at our website for current fastest marathon records and see what times you could feasibly beat…
A standard application can take up to 12 weeks to be processed. That means there could be 12 weeks from the day you apply to the date you receive your approval (or rejection) so plan with this in mind. Guinness World Records has official partnerships with a number of marathons around the globe which may allow your application to be expedited, so check to see if yours qualifies.
5. Submit your costume
When you receive your guidelines they will include the requirements and rules around the costume or challenge they relate to. READ THESE CLOSELY. If you don't meet the criteria of the record then your whole attempt will be disqualified (no-one wants to run 26 miles dressed as a rabbit only to find out their ears weren't long enough). All costumes have to be pre-approved by GWR so submit your costume, or a design, as soon as possible. This will mean if any changes are required you've got time to make them.
Once your application has been accepted and everything has been approved get out and practice. It's important to put on your costume or strap on your pack and have a run in it. It's only once you've started running that you'll discover just how difficult the challenge ahead will be. This is also a good time to make any amendments that may be necessary to avoid the inevitable, and sometimes surprising, chafing…
7. Check the evidence requirements
At marathons we have an official partnership with we are able to monitor all runners and the race itself so minimal evidence is required from runners. When we aren't present however there is a whole list of evidence that must be submitted to support your claim. Make sure you know what you need to submit and if you have any questions, just ask!
8. Get sponsored
Running a marathon is a great way to raise money for a charity but running a marathon in a full suit of armour is even better. Find a charity that means something to you and use this opportunity to help them out. You may even be able to coordinate your costume. Running dressed as a rhino while raising money for Save the Rhino? Genius!
9. Last minute checks
When race day approaches have an internal checklist to make sure you’re ready and you've thought of everything. Is my costume ready? Will it fit in the car? Where will I keep my gels and water? Do I have witnesses organised? Have I charged my camera? Make sure that everything is organised so, on the day, all you have to worry about is running.
10. Become Officially Amazing
On the day all you can do is your best. If you aren’t successful there will always be another marathon for you to try again (your application will remain active for a year if you don't submit evidence). If you are successful then firstly have a drink, you've earned it, and secondly start to collate all of your evidence and submit it for approval. If all is well then you will soon have a Guinness World Records certificate to go alongside your medal. You might want to throw the costume out though, it’s starting to smell a bit…
Feeling inspired? Places are now open for next year's Virgin Money London Marathon which will take place on Sunday 26 April 2020. Anyone wishing to attempt an official Guinness World Records title with on-the-day verification must apply by Friday 31 January 2020.