Wacky and Weird Marathon Moments 

On Sunday, 50,000 people will line up for the London Marathon, an international spectacle with a record-breaking reputation.

Competitors will include elite athletes from around the world and dedicated amateur runners from all corners of the UK.

And then there’ll be the true gluttons for punishment – the people for whom running 26.2 miles as fast as you can just isn’t enough. 

These runners raise the stakes by dressing in sweat-inducing costumes, multitasking along the route or attaching themselves to a fellow runner or two.

They’re the colourful characters who delight spectators and create a carnival atmosphere at an event that, behind the madcap antics, has a serious mission. 

The London Marathon is the single biggest annual fundraising event in the world. Since it started in 1981, runners have raised more than a billion pounds for charity. 

Let’s look at some of the eyebrow-raising antics of previous London Marathons.

Fancy dress fanatics

Bananas, bears, bottles, gorillas, rhinos and telephone boxes have all completed the race in recent years. Big Bird, Buzz Lightyear, Mona Lisa and Henry VIII have also made appearances. 

And then there’s the woman who ran in 2022 wearing a 3D brain cell she’d made herself to raise awareness and money for Parkinson’s.

Linking up

You may think running is a solo sport, but some runners up the ante by competing attached to at least one other runner. 

Northern Irishmen Daniel Gallagher and Jack Meegan tested their friendship in 2023 by running the marathon handcuffed together. The chipper duo finished in under three hours, setting a new Guinness World Record for the fastest men’s marathon while handcuffed. 

And in 2022, a group of six runners competed together in a giant fruit bowl while dressed as fruit.

Magnificent multitaskers

In 2015, Jerry Knox, a teacher from Walnut, California, proved that it’s not just women who can multitask. He made it into the record books by dribbling two basketballs while he ran the marathon and finished in just over four hours.

Then there’s marathon legend Dale Lyons, who in the 2000s earned the nickname Pancake Man. Dale was famous for running the race while tossing a pancake. 

Do you know someone in Oakham who is running the London Marathon on Sunday? If so, show your support by sponsoring their efforts and giving them a shout-out below.