He’s grrreat! Travis the tiger beats record

Winners and highly-commended staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital's Best People Awards 2017     Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

QA Hospital A&E worker saved colleague’s life

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THAT’S right, that’s neat, tiger feet have helped a man break a world record and raise money for charity.

Travis Birch, from Exton, in Devon, took part in the Gosport Half Marathon yesterday and broke the world record for the fastest time dressed as an animal.

Travis Birch.''''Picture: Sarah Standing (133156-7966)

Travis Birch.''''Picture: Sarah Standing (133156-7966)

The madcap 29-year-old said he had originally wanted to run dressed as a banana – but had his plans foiled when a Canadian man smashed his personal best time three weeks ago.

Undefeated and determined to complete the challenge, he switched to a tiger suit and striped past the finish line in an impressive time of one hour, 32 minutes and 21 seconds, just under five minutes quicker than the current world record.

Inspired by the birth of his five-month old daughter Esmie, the devoted dad ditched booze and fags to get fit.

Travis said: ‘I used to be a bit of a party animal. I used to binge-drink and smoke quite a bit at the weekends but that all stopped when we had my little daughter Esmie and now I am a very sensible father just keeping fit.’

The care worker has been training by wearing woolly hats and running throughout the summer to prepare for the heat.

Despite this, Travis said the last four miles were the hardest as he started to overheat.

He said: ‘It was the worst four miles of my life. I couldn’t take the top off for one second otherwise the world record was void so I had to suffer.’

Waving him on at the finish line were girlfriend Mel Martin, daughter Esmie and sister Lauren Birch.

Lauren, 22, from Newton Abbott, said: ‘I knew he could do it. The amount of training he has put in. All the family is very happy for him.’

Mel said she was full of admiration for Travis.

Mel, 30, said; ‘It is just brilliant. His hard work has really paid off.’

Travis was delighted to have finished the challenge but shows no sign of slowing down and is now planning to do a full marathon – followed by a John O’Groats to Lands End cycle.

Travis was running to raise money for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, after they rescued his cousin Matthew Julian when he fell from Haytor Rock, in Dartmoor, 15 years ago.

To donate go to justgiving.com/Speedy-Banana.

n See a list of all the results for everyone who took part in Sunday’s race in tomorrow’s News.