Gingerbread man to run London marathon

Picture by Julian Brown 13/02/17

Catharine D'Ascendis who will be running the London marathon and is aiming for the world record for the fastest marathon dressed as a gingerbread man, pictured at her Bickershaw, Wigan, home
Picture by Julian Brown 13/02/17 Catharine D'Ascendis who will be running the London marathon and is aiming for the world record for the fastest marathon dressed as a gingerbread man, pictured at her Bickershaw, Wigan, home

“Run, run as fast as you can” is exactly what Cat DAscendis will be doing in the London marathon.

The 34-year-old will join thousands of runners to cover 26.2 miles on the streets of London on Sunday, April 23.

But she will have an extra challenge - she is aiming for a world record as the fastest female marathon runner dressed as a gingerbread man.

Cat, who lives in Bickershaw, was inspired after her friend Richard Kell set the fastest time for a male runner last year, finishing in 3:29:21.

She discovered the female record was exactly four hours and thought she might be able to beat it.

Cat said: “I was at London the year he did it and he did a fantastic time. I thought it was great and liked the costume.

“I had a look at what the female record was. At first I thought it was probably achievable but now I have run in the costume it’s probably going to be quite weather dependant on my chances of beating that.

“Obviously I will give it a go and see what happens. I can’t control the weather. I just have to hope that my head doesn’t blow off!”

Mum-of-two Cat is a keen runner and has already completed more than 30 marathons, with a personal best of 3:22 from December 2015.

She has run the London marathon twice before, along with other challenges including seven marathons in seven days and ultra marathons.

Her main focus for now is the world record attempt and she is well into training.

As well as getting in the miles, Cat has bought a gingerbread man costume for the race online.

She said: “It was a one size fits all. It’s the same costume the guy used for the record, but he’s 5ft 11ins and I’m 5ft 2ins.

“I had to send it to my friend to have it amended so it would fit and I could run in it.”

While she is experienced in marathon running, wearing the costume brings its own challenges.

Cat will have several things to contend with as she aims to finish in under four hours and break the record.

“The big challenge with this is I’m going to be very hot, which is going to slow me down,” she said.

“I’m a bit limited in my movement because I can’t see everything.”

Cat wore the costume for the first time on Sunday when she ran 5km in the Cancer Research UK Manchester Winter Run.

She finished in 22 minutes - faster than she expected - but did find the head was heavy.

Cat will also wear the costume for the St Helens 10k and Wigan half marathon next month, before taking it to London.

There are stringent rules to secure a world record, including not removing any part of the costume while running, so she wants to be prepared.

However, Cat does not want to wear out the costume before the marathon so will just wear it for the races.

But she has adapted her training by wearing a lot of clothing and is considering weights to help her prepare to wear the costume.

Cat is attempting the world record in a bid to raise money for a good cause.

She is running in honour of a friend suffering from complex regional pain syndrome, which causes people to experience persistent and debilitating pain.

Cat said: “There’s a charity called Burning Nights. They’re a very small charity and my friend has recently been diagnosed with something called complex regional pain syndrome.

“She is my age and she has a little boy and it’s really affected her. She has gone from being fully mobile to struggling to walk. With a young child as well, it’s not ideal.

“There’s not enough known about it to treat it properly aside from painkillers.”

To make a donation to Burning Nights, go to mydonate.bt.com/charities/burningnightscrpssupport