While the focus of attention at this weekend's Virgin London Marathon will inevitably be on Mo Farah and his debut over 26.2 miles, a marching band from Huddersfield will look to make their very own headlines at the event. The group are aiming to set a new world record as the 'fastest marching marathon band' at Sunday's race.
The Huddersfield team became the world’s first and fastest band to complete a marathon in 2011, but lost their record the following year to a German band, who beat their record by 22 minutes. Now they’re back to reclaim their title, aiming to finish the London Marathon in just seven hours and raise over £60,000 for national deafblind charity Sense.
Mike Lomas, the 22-year-old band’s director, who plays the cornet, said: “We congratulate the German team for beating our record and would encourage them to give it a go again after us if they are crazy enough! It’s definitely going to be tough – we’ll be giving our lungs a real work-out as well as our legs, as we’ll be carrying our trumpets, horns, trombones, cornets, drums and even a tuba along the track! But we’re bigger and stronger than ever and couldn’t ask for a bigger stage or audience anywhere in the world!”
The band need to average a 16-minute mile pace, while performing a playlist of two hours of music on loop with only a 30 second break between each item. They will be playing everything from favourite pop tunes like Michael Jackson’s 'Thriller', to traditional marches and popular tracks.
They also enjoy the support of Sir Patrick Stewart, former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and comedian Sue Perkins who have been photographed with the band’s bright orange hat to urge more people to sponsor them. To find out more, visit their justgiving page.