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Tuesday April 30, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

2 World Records were broken by a skier & snowboarder at the London Marathon. But not before a bit of drama.

First, the skier.

Paul Harnett, an orthopaedic surgeon working in London, was going for the Guinness World Record as the fastest person to run the 26.2 miles in ski boots.

You'd think he'd need to call on his own services after that effort but he was back operating on patients when we caught up with him.

So, how did it go?

Well, he did manage to the beat the record.

Paul Harnett at the end of the London MarathonPaul Harnett with his cousin, another London Marathon finisher



















He completed the course in 5 hours 30 minutes and 27 seconds.

That's around 22 minutes faster than the previous record.

Now you can take it from someone who spends most of her winter in ski boots and also used to run a bit (not at the same time), that is no mean achievement.

LIPS, where Paul works, posted this tweet of congratulation with photos of him at the finish..

There was just one problem.

Paul Harnett's time was not recorded by the marathon organisers.

As far as the Virgin London Marathon is concerned, he didn't even start the race, even though there are official photos of him running the course.

VLM recordThe official VLM position








Let me explain for those who don't know how it works....

Every runner wears a chip attached to their shoelaces.

This enables their official time to be recorded as they run over mats at key locations throughout the race, including the start and finish lines.

"The timing chip was strapped to the side/Velcro bit of my ski boot and didn't work," Paul told us on Monday night.

"I found out half way through."

Paul Harnett's ski bootsPaul in his boots after 26.2 miles












Fortunately, Paul said, he knows his time and can show the route he took, thanks to his GPS sports watch and a mobile app.

"I told the Guinness people when I finished," he said.

"They said it was fine and I'd just have to upload my Garmin data, which I did, and my Strava data."

Paul was photographed with a generic World Record certificate at the end of the race, but his name did not appear in the round-up Guinness put out of 38 successful World Records achieved on Sunday.

Paul HarnettPaul at the end of the race

















We contacted Guinness World Records but had no reply.

However, late on Wednesday night we heard back from Paul.

He's been notified that his record has been ratified.

He's been sent by email a sample version of his personalised certificate, which includes his time.

GWR certificateIt's official




















"Phew," was Paul's understated response.

He took on the challenge to raise money for the British Paralympic Association and World Orthopaedic Concern.

When we last looked, he'd raised just over half of his £10,000 target.

They're good causes, so if you want to support him, head over to his fundraising page.

And you can watch his YouTube fundraising video here:


By the way, Guinness stipulated that the marathon had to be run in normal alpine ski boots so Paul couldn't even have the relative comfort of ski touring boots.

It was more straightforward for fanatical snowboarder, James Williams.

He decided to combine his two favourite sports to make a bid to break the record for the fastest marathon dressed as a snowboarder.

In full kit.

That's with boots, jacket, helmet and carrying a snowboard with bindings attached.

Here he is giving it a go at the Mad Dog 10k in Southport as a trial run..

James Williams at the Mad Dog 10kJames Williams - photo Mick Hall Photos





















In London he had to go faster than 5 hours 46 minutes and 37 seconds.

He did it in 5 hours 21 minutes and 50 seconds.

And that was just 3 weeks after setting a new marathon personal best time of a super-fast 3 hours 3 minutes and 21 seconds at the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, where he was dressed more conventionally.

"Completing the marathon in the boarding gear was absolutely brutal," James told us.

"My attempt required wearing snowboard boots and to carry a board with bindings which is both heavy and cumbersome to carry around for over 26 miles.

"Usually when you get to the airport the first thing you do is get the board checked in so it is someone else's problem to lug around!"

James WilliamsJames with his official Guinness World Record certificate



















James added: "The support was absolutely immense on the day, with shouts of 'Go Snowboarder' echoing around me the whole way around.

"One shout that made me laugh particularly was a young lady who shouted 'Go Skateboarder' and her boyfriend calmly and quietly went 'Love, it's a snowboarder!'."

He says he was also told - on several occasions - that he was 'totally mad'.

And for the snowboard geeks out there....

"I was wearing Salomon F20 Boots, carrying a Burton Custom 55 (155) Board with Burton Freestyle Bindings!"

James was raising money for the Round Table Children's Wish Charity.

His fundraising page is here.

Maybe GB Olympic snowboarder Aimee Fuller will take up the challenge next year?

She also ran in London, along with her mum.

They crossed the finish line together, in aid of Cancer Research UK

Aimee Fuller & mumAimee & mum - photo Aimee Fuller




















Congratulations to them and all the other nutters out there who ran 26.2 miles on Sunday.


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