Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Lindford, Hampshire, England
I hope the rain stops! My mind raced thinking of the misty conditions that blanketed the sky as I drove toward the start of the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon. To my satisfaction, the weather cleared just as we arrived. The break wouldn’t last long and soon it was raining again, this time accompanied by hail and whipping wind. Not a great combination for running in a head-to-toe Santa Claus suit.
Determined to forge ahead, I set out on the course with my friends keeping one goal in mind: snag the world record by running this marathon in under 4 hours. The first 5 miles were torturous as the wet weather soaked my costume, making the beard itchy and trousers triple in weight. All I wanted to do was rip my Santa hat off, but I knew if I did, the record would slip away. Having checked with Guinness World Records administrators, I knew that every item in my suit must remain in place.
To my surprise, the weather cleared at mile 5 and the sun came out to shine. Thanks to my incredible friends who were pacing me, I was able to continue running, only focusing on the end goal. My boyfriend and family tagged along for spectator support, positioning themselves every couple of miles to give much-needed boosts of cheering.
The course was a long out-and-back. After I turned around, it was great seeing how many people I was in front of, even running in a full Santa suit! I laughed as fellow runners commented when they saw me, saying things like, “Oh no, Santa is faster than us…and it’s a girl!”
Arriving at mile 17, I began to really suffer. My beard was now sticky from energy gels and my suit trousers felt like they weighed a million pounds, but I was not going to let my pace slip. My friends continued pushing me too, knowing how important the record was to me.
Coming up to the last 2 miles, my friends did everything they could to shield me from the wind as we all trekked on toward the finish. With the last 50 meters to go, my dad and nephew jumped in to run me through the line.
When I saw the time of 3:43:20 and knew I smashed the previous record, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Riding the high of adrenaline, I started celebrating with my friends and family, not even realizing that I left my beard on for a full 10 minutes after crossing the line.
It took months for the record to be official. I now proudly display a certificate framed with my medal.
Since being awarded the record, if I have a bad run or don’t hit a new personal best, I simply say to myself, That’s okay. After all, you’re a world record holder!
Running in a Santa Claus suit and ultimately scoring a world record brought my running mojo back. I was getting to the stage with my running where I was only concerned with a new personal best every time I ran. Running this race and earning the title allowed me to make marathon running fun again!