Tie up your shoes and grab your costume, because the London Marathon – the yearly event that unites thousands of runners – is upon us.
After a remote event in 2020, and the 2021 and 2022 editions taking place in October, the TCS London Marathon 2023 is set to take place on Sunday, 23 April 2023.
As always, Guinness World Records will be present during the city-wide event to celebrate all the athletes who will attempt to break a record.
While some runners will try to snatch a new title – as is the case of Robert, a 49-year-old runner attempting the record for fastest marathon dressed as a scientist (male) – other seasoned record holders, like Francis Gilroy (fastest marathon by a mascot) will run to improve their own time and upgrade their existing record.
That's also the case of Chris “Rhino boy” Green, who already earned the love of media nationwide thanks to his impressive rhino costume.
After racking up three world records, including the fastest marathon dressed as a mammal (male), so far Chris has run an astounding 71 marathons while wearing the unlikely running gear!
If you think that breaking a record at a marathon is an easy feat, you might want to reconsider.
A testament to grit and preparation, some ambitious athletes will even carry extra weight for the sake of their costume: that is the case of Gary Liam Qualter, who trained carrying heavy water bottles to race for the fastest marathon dressed as a milk deliverer. Sam Hammond, on the other hand, will tackle the marathon whilst carrying a fridge (yes, you read that right. A fridge).
Meanwhile, Jack Glasscock, a 28-year-old Domino’s employee, will be the very first to attempt to run the fastest marathon dressed as a food tub/jar (male). Specifically, this highly creative athlete will be running to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust dressed as a Domino's sauce dip!
So, without further ado, let's take a look at some of the most curious, crafty, and inspirational costumes that will partake in the London Marathon 2023.
Fastest marathon in pyjamas (male)
At 45 years old, Julian Rendall is a seasoned runner and a father of two.
Despite his day job as a chartered surveyor, Julian’s passion for running has accompanied him all his life. He has already been part of several marathons – this will be his 14th London Marathon overall – and ultra-marathons.
The secret to his success? A steadfast training regime made of half marathons and eating a big bowl of porridge every morning. Although he plans to train in his costume, he says he might do so only in the early morning.
“My costume might attract ‘some strange looks’ if I train in the middle of the day!" - Julian
Julian will run in memory of his late father, who sadly passed last year.
However, he also has a clear goal in mind: to win his record title back.
During the Virgin Money London Marathon 2021, two years ago, Julian set the record for the fastest marathon dressed in pyjamas.
The record was broken by David Jones during the following year, at the TCF London Marathon 2022. Jones finished with a time of 2 hrs 47 mins 15 secs – shaving some precious minutes off Julian’s previous achievement of 2 hrs 51 mins and 45 secs.
Will Julian win his very own challenge against time?
Fastest marathon wearing wellington boots
Experienced runner Becky Lafford works as a family support manager, has two children and lives in Swindon.
“I ran the London Marathon in 2010 but did not really get into running until my son was 18 months old," she explains. "I participated in the 2020 virtual London Marathon and really enjoyed doing the longer miles.”
Becky has completed three marathons so far, but this year will mark her first wearing wellies.
“And The London Marathon has always been a part of my life,” she goes on.
“Dad has run it 14 times. I remember being bundled into the car early in the morning and eating a packed breakfast, then seeing the hot air balloons and watching all the runners start. My mum started running marathons when I was 19. Between the four of us, we have run it 28 times.” - Becky
“My sister and I always said that we would run London when we were old enough, which we did.”
Becky will be running to raise money for Safe Families, the charity she works for. This non-profit, volunteer-based organization focuses on aiding families who are going through challenging times, providing a unique approach tailored to the need of each family.
“Safe Families' main community fundraising event is the 'Jelly Welly Walk,' where people get sponsored to fill their wellies with jelly and go for a walk," Becky explains.
Although she will not be putting jelly inside her wellies this time, she still applied a jelly-shaped sticker in honour of her organization.
She also wrote 'Families and Volunteers' on her boots to salute her co-workers: "they are all so wonderful and inspiring and I feel honoured to work with them," she says.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to run and have a place in London, so I want to take the opportunity to have fun with it and inspire my kids at an event which holds lots of special memories for me.”
Fastest marathon dressed as a crustacean (female)
46-year-old Joanne Robinson owns a pastel-hued café by the beach and, this year, decided to run for a noble cause.
This creative mother of two has already accumulated plenty of miles (having achieved her best time so far during the London Marathon 2021) but, this year, she decided to try a "different angle".
As you might have guessed from her huge red costume, Joanne is running as a lobster.
Her efforts will raise money for The National Lobster Hatchery, a Cornwall-based marine conservation, research and education charity that focuses on the over-exploitation of a specific commercial species: the lobster, which is at the centre of a major export industry but also a delicate part of the marine eco system.
Lobsters are, as the charity's website explains, "subject to considerable fishing pressure and vulnerable to catastrophic stock collapse."
Defining herself as a "Cornish girl" and owning a beach-side café, Joanne is well acquainted with the necessity for marine conservation.
"Living by the sea, marine conservation is important to me," she explained.
"Also, it's the only marathon record I’ve ever got half a chance of getting."
"Also, it will be a great way to embarrass my two teenage kids! Mum, running as a giant lobster!" - Joanne
Fastest marathon dressed as a fisherman
Although the marathon is very much a dry land affair, the sea will also be at the centre of another runner's efforts.
For his first marathon ever, Portsmouth-based Sam Shrives will attempt to break the record for the fastest marathon dressed as a fisherman.
Coming from a seafaring family, he will raise money for the Shipwrecked Mariners Society.
The charity dedicates its efforts to provide financial assistance to fishermen and mariners who have suffered losses, injuries or hardship.
Fastest marathon dressed in Thai traditional dress
Charinya Kanchanasevee, a 32-year-old dentist from Bangkok, Thailand, is going to run while showcasing the traditional clothes of her culture.
Charinya has conquered five marathons so far, and this will be her third major world marathon (after travelling to Osaka, Berlin and Tokyo).
However, it will be the first international marathon she will run to break a record, and wearing a traditional dress in place of the more conventional running gear.
After setting an ambitious personal goal, Charinya dedicated the year to running and aims to compete in all the four major marathons: after the recent success of Tokyo 2023, she is now aiming for London, Chicago, and New York City.
In London, she is eager to showcase her Thai traditional attire to the world. She also hopes to test her own limits by running while wearing an elaborate traditional outfit.
“I will do it because, in my country, I have always enjoyed racing in my fancy costumes. I always get trophies and prizes wearing them. I want to show everyone that you can run fast if you practice and enjoy running, and that is not depending on what costume you are wearing.”
She also wishes her fellow Thai runners "a happy run,” as she knows that most of them are tackling the London Marathon while trying to achieve new personal records.
Fastest marathon dressed in traditional Malay dress (male)
Another runner who decided to salute his culture and honour his roots during the event is Mohd Syahidan Bin Alias (nicknamed "Edan"), who is an elite marathon runner and works as a running coach in Shah Alam, Malaysia.
At the age of 35, this year’s London marathon will mark a cornerstone in Edan's life: it's also his 35th marathon overall.
“I run this marathon for a very personal reason,” the pro runner says, “because it will be my 35th marathon at age 35! I chose to run London Marathon again (the first time was in the year 2018), because I can raise funds to help my chosen charity, Livability UK.”
Livability commits to aiding people with disabilities to “live the life they want to lead.” The organization tackles the barriers, supporting people’s right to a full and flourishing life and striving to create a more accessible, sustainable world for people with disabilities.
This marathon will not only celebrate such an important personal achievement for Edan while aiding a noble cause, but it also coincides with Hari Raya Aidilfitri — a celebration to mark the end of Ramadan in Malaysia.
“The Muslim community in Malaysia (mostly Malays), and all over the world celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, also known as Hari Raya Puasa, to conclude the Ramadan holy month of fasting." - Edan
“Hari Raya Aidilfitri is regarded as a merry celebration as it marks a person’s triumph and success on discipline and self-resistance which symbolizes refinement and rebirth," he goes on explaining.
Prior to this marathon, Edan already broke the record for the fastest marathon in a National Flag costume. In September 2018, he completed the Blackmores' Sydney Running Festival, in Sydney, Australia, in only 2 hrs 54 min 34 sec.
For the future, the elite runner promises that he has more records he'd like to attempt — and we cannot wait to see them!
Fastest marathon dressed as a lumberjack (male)
American runner Kirk Millikan has a mission: jog through every street in his city.
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, one of the passions of this one-of-a-kind runner is advocating for pedestrian and bicycle safety.
To raise awareness about road security, Kirk decided to explore each and every boulevard, street, and alley in his hometown. Quite the ambitious goal, right? There are 2,200 unique streets in the city of Richmond, spread out over 60 square miles, and Kirk, who works as a civil engineer in federal government, has run in over 70% of them so far.
After taking a good look inside his wardrobe, Kirk decided that jeans and flannel shirt would be the perfect outfit to shake up his routine and try to attempt a record in London!
“My closet is full of jeans, flannel shirts, and beanies, so dressing as a lumberjack seemed like it was right up my alley,” he says.
“I have run many races, including several marathons in shorts, so I am hopeful that the lessons learned from running in denim during those races will help in running in full jeans as part of this record attempt.” - Kirk
This will not be Kirk’s first marathon and, although he will not be running for a charity, he is using the event’s major reach to encourage more people to discover their surroundings.
London might not be his hometown, but he is set on exploring as many streets as he can during his stay.
“I am running the London Marathon because it is an excuse to visit a great city,” he says.
“My grandmother was born and raised in South London, and my mom spent several years as a child in London. I love exploring the city and my family’s old stomping grounds, and what better way to explore than on foot over 26 miles?”
“I will be preparing by steadily increasing my mileage over an 18-week training cycle, eating a vegetarian diet, and strength training to reduce the likelihood of injuries,” Kirk explains.
As he points out, not everybody in his household shares his passion for running: his adopted greyhound, Willow, used to race but now largely prefers napping in the sun.
Fastest marathon dressed as a lifeguard (male)
At the age of 41, Thomas David Hall is a father of two and works as a solicitor in Sheffield.
Back in 2006, when he was only 25, Thomas was diagnosed with cancer.
He was treated through four, difficult months of chemotherapy in a Teenage Cancer Trust ward and, now, he would like to give back by raising money for the noble cause.
“Whilst being treated, I met many young people who had lost their hair as part of their treatment,” he says.
More recently, the daughter of his close friends was diagnosed with alopecia and faces hair loss. That fueled his decision to run for the Little Princess Trust, which provides human hair wigs for children and young people experiencing the devastating effects of hair loss.
As a seasoned marathon runner, with 14th marathons already ticked off, Thomas has a proven and tested training routine: he will prepare for the event by grinding miles before work.
Thomas was inspired to attempt a record after seeing the current fastest marathon dressed as a lifeguard title in his son’s Guinness World Records 2022 book.
At the moment, the title is held by Terry Midgley (UK), who achieved an incredible time of 2 hrs 55 mins 54 secs in 2015.
Apparently, Thomas’ nine-year-old son did not think his dad could beat such a long-standing record!
“I saw a photo of the record in my son’s Guinness World Records book last year, and told him I could do that. Obviously being a nine-year-old boy, he said ‘no, you cannot’… and that was enough for me to try!” - David
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