Dunstable engineer Stephen Guy said he conceived the audacious plan a year ago after observing fellow workmates losing the will to live as they listened to runners they sponsored recount their marathon at a pace considerably slower than real time. One workmate’s comment ‘I sponsored him 10 quid to run the race but I’d gladly pay 100 quid if he stopped talking about it’ particularly struck a chord.
Stephen’s gruelling challenge commenced 20 weeks before the marathon as he sat in the staff canteen surrounded by charity runners sharing training tips, discussing split times, and debating whether it would be faster running in a Batman or Superman costume.
“After the initial shock of listening to the runner chat wore off, I just concentrated on getting through each day being careful to avoid any debilitating mental injury. Of course I had doubts – I don’t think people realise how difficult it is to just listen to runners talk about chaffing, much less actually see Bevan Masters demonstrate the proper way to apply vaseline to the groin and nipples” said Mr Guy.
The Herculean nature of Mr Guy’s challenge inspired workmates who were glad to support Nepalese orphans and even gladder not to have to listen to the marathon runners themselves.
Mr Guy’s big day was the Monday after the marathon when he sat in the company training room as all the runners gave a blow by blow account of the race.
“I was so nervous before hand, I must have gone for a pee 4 or 5 times. You know you’ve done the training, but nothing can really prepare you for listening to 26 miles of running stories. What surprised me was how quick they started, the first 5 miles seemed to fly by, but then the pace slowed dramatically as runners described the minutiae of their nutrition and hydration plans. I’d die a happy man if this was the last time I heard about an apple and cinnamon gel” said Mr Guy.
“After 13 miles of pain I started to think maybe I can do this, maybe the Nepalese orphans will get their school, but I underestimated how quickly things can go wrong. Who could have predicted that Bevan Masters would be so dedicated to keeping the flow of his marathon story going that he’d skip the bathroom and instead do a ‘Paula Radcliffe’ by the photocopier?”
What happened next is subject to conflicting reports, but apparently at about the 20 mile mark a brave Mr Guy ‘hit the wall’, literally, after screaming ‘I can’t take any more of this’ and running into it head first.
Happily a quick trip to hospital revealed it to be just mild concussion, and Mr Guy was back at work the next day and planning his next challenge.
“Julie Richards is away on maternity leave having just given birth. Workmates are already offering to sponsor me to approvingly coo at her spawn when she comes to the office to show him off.”