Greater Manchester Marathon winner aiming to go sub-2:30 dressed as Spider-Man on Sunday

If you’re running the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday and not lining up as one of the elites, chances are you’re going to be beaten by Spider-Man. He is a superhero, after all.

Martelletti in Spiderman suitFresh from winning the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon in 2:17:47 last Sunday, Paul Martelletti has made a “last minute” decision to return to the roads this weekend targeting a world record – to run the fastest marathon dressed as a superhero.

The current record is 2:33:58 set by “The Flash”, or Canadian runner Stephane Hetherington, at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2012. With a PB of 2:16:49 from 2011, Martelletti should be able to spin a time that will get his name on the Guinness World Records list, though he’s conscious that he’s still recovering from last weekend’s marathon efforts and has never before run in anything like a Spider-Man suit, which includes a full mask.

“It’s all very last minute. I still don’t even know how it came into my head to be honest!” says Martelletti, who as well as his win in Manchester last weekend has claimed six victories over the half-marathon distance so far in 2015 including wins in Bath and Brighton.

“I had always planned to run London anyway as I had an entry more as a back-up in case Manchester didn’t work out for any reason. I do like to do back-to-back marathons or marathons in close succession,” explains the New Zealand-born ultra runner, who last November formed part of Great Britain’s team for the IAU 100km World Championships in Doha. “I was going to pace a friend at around 2:30 anyway so I thought I might as well have some fun with it.”

Martelletti had to apply for his attempt to be considered for a Guinness World Record and although he missed the initial deadline he was able to pay to fast-track it. As a result, the Run Fast athlete has set up a Crowdfunder page for anyone who might wish to back him in his challenge, with any money raised above his £600 target to go to the charity Parkinson’s UK. At the time of publication he had already raised £406.

One of the conditions of attempting the fastest superhero record is that the costume has to be of a recognisable superhero. So why Spider-Man?

“For a few years I’d thought about how cool it would be to try and get one of these world records,” says Martelletti. “When I went through the options, you don’t want a heavy costume or anything. It was between Superman, Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, but I thought the Incredible Hulk was a bit of an easy way out because you could literally run in shorts and paint your body green. The Spider-Man suit is a full one-piece suit which will make things a bit harder.

“I also thought I don’t really have the physique for the Hulk! I think my physique lends itself better to Spider-Man anyway, he’s quite lean and skinny.”

Having not yet run in the suit, Martelletti plans to test it out at a parkrun on Saturday where he’ll try and run around marathon pace or a bit quicker if he feels good. Initially due to start with championship runners in London on Sunday – the same start as Paula Radcliffe this year – Martelletti now plans to run from the mass start, with his Spider-Man suit probably not qualifying as a club vest.

Martelletti is far from alone in his Guinness World Record attempt. Every year thousands of participants don fancy dress for their 26.2 mile challenge and this year Guinness have received more than 100 requests from entrants who wish to attempt a record. Among them is Gemma Kirkham, who hopes to break 4:30 and clock the fastest marathon dressed as a framed painting (the Mona Lisa, of course). and Terry Midgley, who will need to cross the finish line in three hours or under to become the fastest lifeguard.

» Paul Martelletti’s Crowdfunder page can be found at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/spidermanworldrecord