As if running a 42-kilometer marathon isn’t difficult enough, 25-year old Sydney lawyer Matthew Whitaker ran the 42 Km Sydney Running Festival dressed in a suit. He says he was inspired by a man dressed as a jester at last year’s event, who also achieved a Guinness record. If running a 42-kilometer marathon sounds difficult enough, imagine doing it dressed in a three-piece suit. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Whitaker said that “The first half was fine, but the last 15-20 kilometers were really, really horrible. It got really heavy and restrictive and slowed me down a fair bit.”
Whittaker had come to terms with the challenges a 42 km run, clad in his formal best, he would endure. leading up to the Sunday race, Whitaker trained wearing a 3-piece suit. But the furthest he ran was a mere 14 km instead of the marathon distance of 42 km. “I did a few training runs around Centennial Park and Bondi and got a fair few looks. People were just a bit confused as to why I was running around Centennial Park at 6 am in a suit,” he said.
Joining him in this run was another fellow lawyer, Michael Tozer who was running to raise awareness for the Fragile X Society, a charity organization for children with special needs. Whitaker however beat Tozer by finishing 27th in the race, just 29 minutes behind the marathon winner Japan’s Shota Hattori who finished in a time of 2:15:16. Whitaker’s best was an applaudable 2 hours, 44 minutes and 29 seconds.
The suit that Whitaker was wearing for the marathon was made out of wool and one size bigger, so that his movement was not restricted. The requirement to achieve the record mandated that the participants to wear a vest, jacket and tie. The top button had to be done up and instead of dress shoes, participants were allowed to wear their running shoes.
Despite the weather being in their favor, Whitaker still found it difficult to run the last 20 kilometers. “I think the three different layers caught up with me by the end of it. I was expecting the pants to be pretty horrible, but the top half was worse in the end.” When asked if he would beat his own record the coming year, Whitaker laughs it off and says that ” this is my first and probably last Guinness World Record attempt.”