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Bananaman gears up for next challenge

PUBLISHED: 15:26 13 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:56 16 September 2010

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.

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 2mins 13secs, recording a time of 3hours, 13mins and 31secs 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 four-and-a-half hour record in a Spongebob Squarepants costume.

“It all sprung from a conversation I had with a friend in a pub,” he added.

“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.

“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! 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 4hours, 26mins and 13secs 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.”

Mr Allen, whose personal best in the marathon is 2hours and 43mins, now juggles his full time job with extensive training as part of a push to fall into the 2hour 30min “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.

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