Two years after running the London Marathon carrying a pint of beer, a Hook Norton woman is in training to take on the Virgin London Marathon on 25 April, this time dressed as the pint!
Gill Begnor, aged 44, will be attempting to break a Guinness World Record by taking on the 26.2-mile challenge to raise money for the blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Gill is hoping that her challenge in the costume in the shape of a bottle of Hook Norton Brewery's 'Old Hooky' beer will help her raise £2,000. Gill said: "I remember very clearly telling myself between the 16-mile mark and the end of the 2008 London Marathon that I was never going to run a marathon again in my life. I've yet to figure out how I've now ended up running it dressed as a pint of beer!"
Gill is aiming to break the Guinness World Record for 'fastest marathon by a woman dressed as a bottle', which currently stands at five hours. "I thought the training was going really well until I tried running in the suit for the first time," she said. "The heat inside the costume is the least of my worries. The fact that my stride length is reduced to about half of what is normal for me and that my arms have to be in one position – holding 'The Pint' steady to stop it tripping me up – is going to be more of a problem!"
"Everyone has been brilliant and very supportive," said Gill. "Most of my friends have written me off as certifiably insane. My daughters are too embarrassed to leave the house now, but they do keep saying how proud they are of me! My family and friends keep sponsoring me - I know they all want to see the end of leukaemia and lymphoma as much as I do."
Gill, who lives in Hook Norton village, became a supporter of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research through the influence of the local-based brewery. Managing Director James Clarke lost his sister Victoria to leukaemia in 1986. This inspired the Clarke family and the Hook Norton village to spend over 20 years supporting the charity, raising nearly £200,000 so far.
People can read about the Pint's progress and sponsor Gill's marathon effort at www.hookypint.co.uk. Gill is even offering to lend the Pint to anyone else taking on a fundraising run, provided they promise to donate at least half their sponsorship to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
As well as having friends cheering her on, Gill will be running in good company as she passes by some of London's most famous landmarks. As a member of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research's 'Banana Army' running team sponsored by TVTimes and Adidas, she will be running with a variety of TV celebrities such as Emmerdale's Tony Audenshaw and Chris Chittell.