A Salford art teacher is attempting to break her own Guinness World Record of being the fastest woman to run a marathon dressed as an item of stationery in aid of St Ann’s Hospice.
Belinda Neild will be running the London Marathon on 2 October dressed as a pencil and is aiming to beat her previous world record set in 2019, which she completed wearing a red crayon costume.
And it’s not just stationery that Belinda has dressed up as. Her other running outfits have included a Rubik’s cube, Forrest Gump and a sumo wrestler.
She said: “Running a marathon in costume is nothing compared to what the patients have to go through.”
St Ann’s Hospice is an important cause for Belinda, whose three relatives all received end-of-life care at the Little Hulton site.
Her mother died of cancer in 2011, and the deaths of her father-in-law, Kevin Neild, and aunt, Sandra McStravick, followed soon after.
Belinda said: “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 to see my mum and she had the biggest smile on her face. That is a memory I will never forget.”
This will be Belinda’s tenth marathon and she hopes it will get her closer to her target of raising £20,000 for St Ann’s Hospice. So far, she has raised £16,200.
Belinda – aka “the fastest pencil in Salford” – completed last year’s marathon in a personal best of three hours and 23 minutes as part of a challenge to complete three marathons in three weeks, helping her to raise almost £4,000 for the hospice.
St Ann’s are now fundraising for their new site, which will replace the current Heald Green facility, located in an old Victorian building in constant need of repair.
The charity’s Build it Together campaign has so far raised £350,000 of the £2million needed to complete the new Heald Green hospice.
Plans for the new £21million facility include landscaped gardens and 21 individual en-suite private bedrooms.
Belinda said: “Hopefully I can raise the vital and much needed funds for the hospice. The funds I raise will support the new building to transform the end-of-life care for Greater Manchester residents.”