Wigan borough teacher aims to break her own world record when she takes on the London Marathon again dressed as a pencil
A Wigan borough art teacher who likes to dress up in funny costimes on long distance runs is aiming to smash her own world record next month.
On October 2, Belinda Neild will take to the streets of the capital attired as a pencil in a bid to post a personal best in the London Marathon.
The 47-year-old, who teaches at Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley, is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the fastest person on the planet to complete the 26.2-mile distance while dressed as an item of stationery!
That was recorded in 2019 in a crayon outfit and now the mum of one hopes to better her time of three hours 54 minutes and 25 seconds in her latest tilt at the race.
And it’s all in a good cause.
Over the years she has raised more than £22,000 for various causes and her current focus is on boosting the coffers of St Ann’s Hospice Cheshire. S
She has already raised £16,000 for it and hopes to break the £20,000 barrier by the end of this year.
She said: “This marathon will be marathon number 10. I started to run when my mum sadly passed away to cancer in 2011.
"I then sadly lost other people close to me: my father-in-law, aunt and uncle and other friends. I started to run through the grief and then decided I wanted to give something back to the hospice that cared for my mum. I started to fund-raise by doing running challenges each year.
“I have prepared for this marathon by following a training plan provided by my coach at Salford Mets where I train and Manchester outdoor fitness on Heaton Park. My coaches have helped me to achieve my goals. Never would I have thought I would achieve a sub-four-hour marathon when I started running in 2011.
As well as wearing a crayon costume, Belinda has also run a marathons dressed as a Rubik’s cube, Forrest Gump, a giant poppy and a sumo wrestler and also holding a flag with pictures of family and friends sadly lost to cancer.
“I am currently the Guinness world record holder for the for the fastest item of stationery dressed as a red crayon achieved in 2019. I am aiming to beat my record time this year dressed as a pencil.
"The reason for choosing the outfit is because I am an art teacher and it’s a good fundraising incentive.
"I get the school involved and the students love to hear about my fund-raising challenges. I am aiming to raise £20k hopefully by the end of this year which hopefully will help support end of life palliative care and contribute to the public fundraising launch of a much needed new building for the hospice in Manchester.
Other charities Belinda has supported include Cancer Research, British Legion and Histio UK in memory of her friend’s little girl Laya.
She has also fund-raised and supported the family of a girl called Ava who has cerebral palsy.
Belinda added: “St Ann’s Hospice is a charity close to my heart. I always want to give something back to the hospice as they cared so well for my mum, father-in-law and aunt in their final days. The staff do an amazing job. I remember walking into St Ann’s and my mum had the biggest smile on her face. That is is a memory I will never forget.”
To sponsor Belinda go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/belinda-neild6