To the total stranger who seemingly ran all 26.2 miles of the London Marathon while wearing a full-body Big Ben costume: I salute you.
Who does this? What kind of a brain dreams it up? There’s actually a good, heartwarming reason. But first, you need to see it. Behold the excellence of this absolute real life superhero….
While yes, that tweet is correct about the Guinness attempt, Bates had a selfless reason for dressing up like Big Ben for 26 miles. He did the run to benefit Alzheimer’s research in the UK, and at the time of this writing he has so far managed to secure £3,645.48.
As Bates himself wrote on the above-linked website:
I will be raising money for Alzheimers research UK. This charity is close to my heart as I have first hand experienced the effects of this to very close family members as they have battled with this disease. My Nanny (Pat Jackson) passed away last year after losing her battle with this, she had this horrible disease for many years and lost allot of who she was through this. I saw how this not only impacted on herself but also all of her close friends and family around her. This condition is still effecting other family members as my Grandma (Alex) is living and coping with this at her home in Bath. During my visits to see both Grandparents I have seen the deterioration and change in charexteristics and would be soo grateful for any and all donations to assist in the prevention and treatment of this illness for others going forward.
I’ve seen the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand in my own family, so I think this is a lovely effort.
Getting back to that world record attempt, to be clear, Bates was specifically running to break the record for fastest marathon dressed as a landmark. I bet you didn’t know that was a thing (I sure didn’t), but now you do.
Big Ben is of course London’s famed clock tower situated at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. For my money, pop culture references to Big Ben don’t get much better than that one moment from National Lampoon’s European Vacation.
As delightful as Bates costumed run was for us, the viewers at home, it didn’t unfold without frustrations. Notably, Bates ran into some technical issues when he reached the finish line but couldn’t cross it, because his costume was too tall.
Kudos to Bates for sticking out the whole race, and for using the sure-to-go-viral moment (hi!) as an opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile cause.