I ran 16 miles with Sumo Man!

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After days of deliberation as to whether or not I should run Wolverhampton marathon, I elected to give it a go even though my right knee isn’t one hundred per cent. For anyone that knows me, this probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.

With a relatively flat road course like Wolverhampton I would normal be planning on going for a sub 3:30 but I consciously decided to take it easy to reduce the chance of aggravating my already sore knee. So as not to chase the clock I started off fairly near the back and really took it easy for the first mile so.

Within the first mile I hooked up with “Sumo Man”. Was I really running that slow that “Sumo Man” could keep up? No, inside an inflatable sumo suit was a very fit marathon runner from Chesterfield called David. As we ran together I had to admire his good steady pace inside such an awkward suit and in the sun, it must have been very warm. I found it great fun running along “Sumo Man” as he got the attention of everyone he passed whether it was the crowd, marshals or other runners. Some of the comments and laughter was so funny.

He tells me how he has donned many costumes and has succeeded in attaining 14 Guinness World records from wearing costumes whilst running marathons with 2 attempts still pending with Guinness. He goes on to admit he has since lost some of his records. I may have run many more marathons than David but I’ve never run with a multiple world record holder before! I asked him what will he do if he wants to go to the toilet? He replies he can’t! He went on to tell me the suit keeps itself inflated by a battery operated motor and he was running with a spare motor and batteries so if either failed he could repair the suit and still finish the whole event with an inflated suit. He needs photos and witness statements to apply for the world record and asked if I would oblige, which of cause I was more than happy to do. I suppose even with all the fun of fancy dress there is still a serious racing side and amazingly world records to be attained.

I kept to my plan of an easy steady pace going through half way in 1 hour 51 minutes. “Sumo Man” stayed with me till 16 miles, he needed to slow slightly and I still felt relatively fresh so with little pain from my right knee continued at the same pace. I missed having David about for the final few miles, it had been so entertaining running with him. The last couple of miles felt very hard, I think the warm sun was having an effect but I managed to hardly slow down and finished in 3 hours 39 minutes 31 seconds. A pleasing negative split by a couple of minutes. Not a brilliant time but a very good entertaining, really enjoyable day, thanks to “Sumo Man” for the great company.

I also enjoyed getting out and running the race today as I got to see many marathon friends who I hadn’t seen for a while. It was especially nice to see John Dawson and he looked so well too.

As well as Sumo’s antics running round Wolverhampton there was also the Wolverhampton Jamaican Bobsleigh team doing the half marathon. They were so colourful and funny pushing their bobsleigh round while playing music from a stereo. As I passed them on my 2nd lap at about 25 miles (their 12 mile point) I gave them a cheer, I don’t know how they did it, it must have been tough pushing what was effectively an oversized shopping trolley 13.1 miles!

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