Rhino runner takes on a World Record marathon challenge

Elly McMeehan dressed as Beryl the Rhino
Elly McMeehan dressed as Beryl the Rhino
Katy Watson, aged nine, with the gardening creation she made at Family Sunday

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THE thought of running the London Marathon is enough to bring most people out in a sweat.

But rhino lover Elly McMeehan is hoping to smash the 26.2miles while dressed as her favourite animal.

Elly McMeehan in full rhino mode

Elly McMeehan in full rhino mode

And not only is her outfit large and cumbersome, meaning she can only see 3m in front of her, it also weighs a whopping 22lbs.

Elly, from Southsea, said: ‘It’s the size and the awkwardness of it that’s the problem, the mileage is the easy part. I’m praying that this warm snap stops and that it’s cold on the day as there’s not very much air inside.’

The 33-year-old bank account manager is raising cash for Save the Rhinos – a conservation charity that works to conserve all five rhino species. It will be her second London Marathon wearing the suit, which she has affectionately dubbed ‘Beryl’. She previously ran the London Marathon in 2015 in 5hrs 47mins – the third quickest time anyone has run the race in the suit. The quickest time is 5hrs 3mins for a woman, and 4hr 16mins for a man.

She also ran the Great South Run as Beryl in October last year, in an incredible time of 1hr 58mins.

Elly says she is hoping to beat or match her previous time, despite having several injuries. She said: ‘I’ve had some niggling injuries along the way so I’m not quite as fit as I would have liked to be but I did my longest run last Sunday – 21.25 miles so I’m as ready as I’m going to be! I am up to – including the Great South Run – £4,000 in donations. My work Barclays has helped by matching pound for pound what I raise. But I’d really love to get to £5,000 as it’s such a great cause.’

Elly has a Guinness World Record attempt confirmed for the race on April 23 as the ‘fastest marathon in a 3D animal costume-female’ which currently stands at 6 hours.

She said: ‘They wouldn’t let me have the specific title of fastest rhino so I’ve got the slightly less catchier title, but I’m hopeful of beating the time.’

Elly’s husband, Mark Wiggett, will be watching from the side cheering her on – and she said that hearing her name as she’s running gives her motivation to continue.

‘The whole way round everyone is shouting my name which is wonderful,’ she said. ‘They are chanting “rhino, rhino” which is brilliant. I think that’s what brings me back – feeling like a rock star for the day.’

To sponsor Elly go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EllyMcMeehan or text ‘RHIN83 £5’ to 70070.

Thousands to take part in annual race in capital

THERE will be 39,000 people taking part in this year’s London Marathon on April 23.

The race, which started in 1981, follows a 26.2mile route from Greenwich Park and Blackheath in south-east London to The Mall. More than 200,000 people applied for the available places this year.

Some 50 runners will be going for Guinness World Records in this year’s race. Among the many records being attempted this year are: fastest marathon dressed as an emoji, fastest marathon dressed as a love heart and fastest marathon wearing Wellington boots.

n Send your marathon stories to newsdesk@thenews.co.uk