Charlie is world’s fastest Bananaman

A KEEN runner who holds the world record for the fastest marathon dressed as Bananaman is gearing up for his next gruelling physical challenge – finishing a 26.2 mile race in a Spongebob Squarepants costume.

Charlie Allen, an exercise referral coordinator with NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, picked up the unusual Guinness world record for his superhero efforts at the Edinburgh marathon in May.

Despite 27-degree heat and his restrictive Bananaman costume, he broke the existing record by 2 minutes 13 seconds, recording a time of 3 hours, 13 minutes and 31 seconds while also raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

Now the 33-year-old, who lives in Norwich, has set his sights another unusual achievement when he takes on the Amsterdam marathon in October – beating the 4-and-a-half hour record in a Spongebob Squarepants costume.

“It all sprung from a conversation I had with a friend in a pub,” said Charlie. “I’d been looking at some of the more silly world records on the internet and, as he promised to support me with sponsorship, I let him decide which one I’d take on.

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“I used to run regularly at a high level, but had been forced to take a break because of other commitments. This challenge was just the motivation I needed to start training seriously again.

“The day itself was fantastic. The weather was a really warm which was challenging but also made it more enjoyable when I was the first superhero to cross the finishing line!

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“As well as bringing a smile to people’s faces, dressing up also gave me a brilliant opportunity to raise money for charity, which was great.

“I’m now turning my thoughts to Amsterdam and the record for completing a marathon dressed as Spongebob.

“Although 4 hours, 26 minutes and 13 seconds may seem a long time, the costume is really big and padded with lots of foam so it will be really hot and a massive challenge – but one I’m looking forward to.”

Charlie, whose personal best in the marathon is 2 hours and 43 minutes, now juggles his full time job with extensive training as part of a push to fall into the 2 hour 30 minute “elite athlete” category. He hopes that his efforts will inspire others to start getting more active so they reap the health benefits which regular exercise brings.

He added: “In my job, I often meet people who say they don’t have the time to fit activity into their lives. Part of my inspiration for doing this is to show them that it is possible, even for those who work or have other commitments.

“I always encourage people to start doing a little and often – they’ll soon notice the health benefits, and that will give them all the motivation they need to carry on.”

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