Monday, 30 November 2009

Seattle marathon Elvis record attempt

Had a lot of fun at the Seattle marathon yesterday with Amy and some of her family. As I do a lot of road marathons it’s fun to mix up the races with different aims and challenges, especially since I did the race the previous year and knew the course. One that I usually like is to try to get as many different ‘minutes’ (like 2h59m, 2h58m, 2h57m etc) as possible for my finishes. I’ve got everything between 3h08m down to 2h45m plus several below. So I usually try to fill a gap whenever possible – 2h40m, 2h41m and 2h44m were all free so I wanted one of these, ideally.

However, the main focus was a slightly different target. I’ve run seven marathons in various costumes so far and broken a Guinness World Record in each case. Four different records, but some of them more than once – fastest Santa, fastest Elvis, fastest superhero (Spiderman) and fastest film character (Maximus from Gladiator). Since I broke them, only one hasn’t been re-broken (film character, 2h53m) and the records now stand at 2h55m for Santa, 2h49m for Elvis and 2h43m for a superhero (Robin from Batman).

So I decided it would make Seattle more interesting to get my record back for the fastest Elvis and to also run a new ‘minute’. It’s a great race and a beautiful city but it’s usually a bit wet and cold as well as having some nasty hills around 20 miles, but I wanted a good training run as well as a laugh.

It’s always funny walking down the street to a race when dressed up like an idiot and I had plenty of people wanting to stop and take a photo with me, even those who’d started the half marathon, but were clearly not in a hurry. And the odd looks you get when you’re at the front of the field at the start are also amusing. Nobody likes to get beaten by the fancy dress runner and I suspected I’d probably screw up a few people’s races by accident as they’d not want to have me ahead of them even if the pace was too fast.

In the end it worked out well and the level of support was great. It’s brilliant to have the spectators and other runners laugh and shout out Elvis quotes and impressions. And this course has plenty of sections where it doubles back and you run past the rest of the field, so I probably saw 80% of the field on the course.

In the end I didn’t quite hold on for 2h40m, but I’d done zero taper as this race was meant to be the weekly longer run. 2h42m and 6th was about as good as I could have expected and knocked a good seven minutes off the record. Shame I couldn’t maintain pace completely evenly and that I got a second 2h42m time, but I didn’t want to jog in the last couple of miles for 2h44m after putting in the work for the rest of the race (besides, the challenge for myself is to run races evenly rather than walking over the line to get a new ‘minute’). So hopefully it’ll be a bit harder for someone to take it away this time and I can have another crack sometime in 2010, maybe at Seattle again.

Some time I’ll get round to getting back the superhero record but 2h43m is a slightly tougher target and I’ll need to find a race where I wouldn’t be going for any particular time otherwise. Oh, and it’ll need to be cold as that Spidey costume is toasty, particularly the mask.


  1. That it completely awesome, Ian! I love your great sense of humor that you take with you to your races. You/Elvis were even mentioned tonight at the monthly CORK meeting. Congrats on another WR!!

  2. Dude, nice work on reclaiming the Elvis record! Nice.