The presence of celebrity runners is no great novelty when it comes to mass participation events, writes Chris Broadbent. Charities frequently recruit runners from the world of showbiz to help raise funds for their worthy causes. Given their high profile, it’s often very successful.
They also add colour and enjoyment to an event. It’s certainly a prominent feature of London Marathon where a glut of soap/reality TV/sporting stars (delete as appropriate) are breathlessly interviewed by an equally breathless Claire Balding on Tower Bridge.
Michel Roux Junior
The celebrity chef is a prolific runner having completed over 20 marathons, his best being 3:13 at London. He told runABC: “Running is my therapy. It’s my ‘me time’. Time to think, reflect and clear my head.” And of his marathon PB he mused: “I think it would be beatable if I were to decrease my hours at work and increase the hours of sleep I get, but realistically that ain’t happening any time soon!”
He’s well known for his speed on four wheels,
having won the 2009 Formula One World Championship. But he’s also pretty swift on two feet. The fitness nut is a pretty talented triathlete, but in running circles his best performance is 2:52:30 at this year’s London Marathon.
The Olympic rower turned adventurer perhaps has a head
start in terms of fitness, but that shouldn’t detract from his impressive running records. In 2010 he finished the Marathon des Sables in 12th place, taking the trophy of the highest placed Briton in the race’s 25-year-history. He also has a pretty impressive marathon PB of 2:50:43 which he achieved at the 2015 London Marathon.
What is rare is a celebrity actually winning a race, as happened with Nell McAndrew in 2015. The former Lara Croft model broke the tape at the Run Windsor Women’s 10k in 39:16. It is not the first time Nell has triumphed either - she was first lady at the National Lottery Olympic Park Run in 2012.
Political figures are no strangers to running. Ed Balls and Alastair Campbell have both taken part in the London Marathon, whilst George W Bush and Sarah Palin are among the prominent American politicians to have a marathon finisher’s medal. But none have run quite as fast as former Tory MP and newspaper columnist Matthew Parris, who ran a staggering 2:32:57 at the 1985 London Marathon.
Jonny Lee Miller
Perhaps best known as ‘Sick Boy’ in iconic 1990s film Trainspotting, he proved he was fit and healthy in the real world though, clocking a highly respectable 3:01:40 at the 2008 London Marathon.
The hit making British singer/songwriter is another who is making good strides in her running. Goulding regularly takes to the pavement for a 5 or 6 mile jaunt — even while on tour — and has been known to invite fans to join her on her Facebook page. Her half marathon PB of 1:41:33 was achieved at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington DC where she finished 362nd out of 15,000 runners.
The Emmerdale favourite is a marathon regular but his repertoire extends from parkrun to ultras.
He achieved his fastest marathon time at the 2006 London Marathon where he crossed the line in 2:58:49. He told runABC: “That’s when I decided to start chasing the records. Not Paul Tergat’s world record you understand but fastest marathon dressed as ... Elvis, Tarzan (much cooler!), Papa Smurf. You get the picture.”