A Pirate-y Dilemma

Towards the end of last year (wow that still feels weird to say) I was incredibly, ridiculously lucky to get a ballot-entry spot into the London Marathon for 2017. That’s not something you say no to! – even though I had already booked in to do Paris marathon two weeks earlier as my A-race for the first half of the year.

So I decided that London should be a really fun marathon, and what better a way to have fun than to dress up in costume and try and set a Guinness World Record! After some thinking about what costume to wear searching I sent off my application to run the ‘fastest marathon dressed as a pirate (female)’ . This would a new record category (better chances for me!) and one I was quite excited to try, given that most years on Halloween I’ve ended up as some version of a swashbuckler.

When you submit an application for a GWR, you have to input the time you think you’ll be able to run. If it is a new category, they will assign a standard time they think is ‘reasonable’ for the attempt. From what I read in a Runner’s World article about How to Set a Guinness World Record for Racing in Costume, most new categories are given a 4:30 time. I put down 4:00 as the time I thought I could complete the marathon in a costume and two weeks after an all-out effort, and sent off the form.

Yesterday I heard back from the Guinness World Records: my application was accepted, and the new record category had been created! YES! I let out a whoop and then went to look at the details about what I’d need to wear, do etc., when my heart sunk.

The current record is 3:30:00hour(s), minute(s), second(s).


Seriously, GWR, what? For a brand new category? No-one has even set the record yet for the fastest marathon dressed as a pirate (male), so why is it so low for a female? ARGH.

I have this intense ball of dread knotted up in my stomach now every time I think about it. I really wanted to give it a damn good shot, but 3:30 is my dream goal for the whole year, not something I imagined trying for whilst dressed up in pantaloons and a buccaneer…

There’s a few options for me now, and I’m struggling with which one I should choose.

  1. Forget about running as a pirate, find another (slower, existing) category and put in a new application. Could mean, though, that I’m either not accepted for a second category, or that there is competition for said category.
  2. Change my A-race from Paris to London, and go all out there. May potentially lead to disappointment if, even if I PB, I don’t get under 3:30 and make the record time. Or, could just be totally awful in the costume/2 weeks after a marathon & I bomb entirely.
  3. Make April A-race season and go for broke twice in two weeks. Painful.
  4. Race Paris, and then just see how London goes. Have fun, get cheers for being dressed up. If I don’t get the record, I can always try again at Berlin in September…

Hmmm. Thoughts?

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