Interview with World Record holder, Warren
We interviewed Warren, who ran the London Marathon dressed as a telephone box to raise money for Samaritans and broke a Guinness World Record in the process.
So why the telephone box?
Well I got a ballot place, and I wanted to run for Samaritans – plus I’ve always wanted to be on the telly! I thought if I went in fancy dress I’d have a better chance of sticking out from the other 39,000 runners.
My wife suggested I go as a telephone box, given the connection with Samaritans. I thought it was a great idea, so I got out into the garage and made it.
Then I got some emails from the London Marathon team, with a link to Guinness World Records. Lo and behold there’s a world record for the fastest marathon dressed as a telephone box!
I looked at the time and thought… That’s achievable. I could probably have a fair crack at that.
I figured if I’m rocking up to the London marathon to run for charity, let’s bolt on the Guinness World Record attempt as well. So we did.
How did the start go for you?
I got to Greenwich park and registered with the Guinness World Records, they checked out my outfit and that it was all in accordance with the rules and guidelines
We started at 10 o’clock, and it was a good start, everyone was cheering, really good crowds. Everyone was shouting about the telephone box!
The sun was out but not too hot, ideal marathon running weather – if you’re in a telephone box.
Can you paint a picture for us of your experience running the London Marathon?
The race was good, up until the 13th mile it was pretty textbook, everything I’d practised and trained on.
Bit wobbly at 18 miles, I hadn’t realised running in this outfit would be quite so awkward and it changed my running style. It was getting hot by then and I started to dehydrate in my telephone box, so I changed my hydration strategy and picked back up
By about 24 miles my legs were really aching, and I didn’t want to go on anymore but that’s pretty normal.
When I got to 25 miles, I saw the Samaritans cheer point and I could see my wife and the kids with my sister, the crowds were going mad. It made me think, ‘you’ve only got one more mile to go, let’s crack on’.
So I did, and I crossed the line.
Tell us about the moment you crossed the line.
When you see 600 metres to go it’s just fantastic, the relief – coming up past Buckingham Palace, you see the finish line, and I heard the announcers saying ‘Here’s the guy in the telephone box’ and I looked up and there I am on the screens. And you somehow find this little bit of extra energy.
I didn’t sprint by any means, I just think the pain went away a little bit and as you get closer everyone’s cheering and you just feel fantastic.
I crossed the line, looked down, saw my time [that he’d beaten the world record] and I was really pleased with it – job done!
If you had to pick out a highlight, what would it be?
It’s absolutely the same highlight from when I ran in 2015, it’s running across Tower Bridge. Running through the City of London is a great opportunity.
I turned the corner at that point and I couldn’t believe it. I had my hand stuck out of the telephone box, waving – both sides of the street were cheering and shouting, it was brilliant.
That will live in my memory forever. Forever.
Why was running for Samaritans so important to you?
The main reason is my wife is a volunteer. I think what you do, and the service you provide is absolutely incredible.
I had no idea the kinds of people that you help, from younger people to older people with all sorts of problems. I guess I used to think it was just people in a lot of trouble, or who were suicidal. I had no idea the support you provided, and what a special kind of person you need to be to be a volunteer.
It’s not something I could do, but running a marathon is something I can do.
So it was really to say thanks to her, to my wife, for what she does.
How pleased are you with your time?
Fantastic, I’m really pleased with my time. The world record stood at 4 hours, 33 mins 56 seconds. During training I thought ‘yeah I can probably get close to that’.
Coming in at 4 hours 7 mins – I’m well pleased!
Last question – if anyone watching this is thinking ‘maybe I could run a marathon’, what would you say to them?
I would say, do it.
If you’re having that thought and you want to do it, absolutely do it. You can do it. Anybody can do it.
It’s hard, you need the self-commitment but I’m a great believer that if you put your mind to it, you can do it.
I never thought I’d be a world record holder and here I am, talking to you.
You can help Warren raise funds for Samaritans here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/warrenedwicker