running blog

Clive Whaley


Costume Ready

Day 107 - Marathon Training - Rest & Kit Preparation

Laid out my marathon race kit, double checked accommodation and train times and half packed a bag of stuff I need for Sunday.

My kit looks quite comical when laid out on the floor like this. It's very light and minimal - you would think a really tough challenge would require something more. When our ancestors took on their most demanding physical tests they probably wore half a ton of armour and carried a large sword and a heavy bottle of dragon poison. I am hoping to get by with:
  • Faded Bridport Runner's vest - to be worn with pride;
  • Ron Hill shorts - light as tissue paper;
  • Hilly Socks - labelled with Left and Right of course, so that I know which foot to put them on;
  • Saucony running shoes - a size bigger than they used to be.

Regarding the latter, I was most excited to discover the real reason why I needed to purchase shoes that were half a size bigger than I have done before. In Runners World (April 2017) I found this, "If you're over 40 and feel like your running shoes don't fit like they used to, it's not your mind playing tricks - they don't. Your feet widen with age … some runners will need shoes two sizes bigger at 60 than they did at 40."

This information is both reassuring and worrying in equal measure. It's good to know that my mind is not playing tricks and this 'growth spurt' happens to many older runners. However, what happens if the rate of growth is such that I need a larger pair of shoes at the end of the marathon than at the start? My minimal kit approach goes out the window if I have to carry an extra pair of running shoes to change into at mile 14!

If I had considered running in more elaborate kit i.e. a superhero costume, gigantic pair of nappies or rhino suit (as you do) I could have gained the additional motivation of going for a world record. Inside the booklet supplied to all marathon competitors, one of the most informative sections is the article which outlines the Guiness World Record breakers in the marathon. Apparently 32 world records were set last year in London, in some truly breathtaking 'costume' and 'speed' combinations. I am full of admiration for Greg Trevelyan who holds the record for Fastest Marathon dressed as a Crustacean - he finished in a very tidy 3 hours and 17 minutes. I am equally impressed with Dave Cooke (although he finished nearly 2 and a half hours after Greg) who crossed the line in 5 hours 45 minutes and is the World's Fastest Marathon runner wearing Chainmail. I would be delighted to finish in a time that would have been somewhere between the two of them in 2016. I have to say one of the best ways to help me speed up in the later stages of the 2017 event, would be to respond to the sound of rapidly approaching chainmail from behind me.

No, I'm going to keep the costume simple. Guinness World Record adjudicators please note, I am going for …

World Record for 56 year old male from Bridport, who gets round the course on his second attempt (31 years after the first), with ever growing feet - wearing faded club vest, 'left' and 'right' labelled socks and an expression of hope.