How did we come up with the idea for the caterpillar?
This was probably the area that took the most time (next to the actual costume build) there were a lot of 4 person costume ideas thrown around – but finding the one that would fit our group dynamic and become viable. And also our key requirement was to make it unique and fun!
We came up with a short list of ideas and then started to bounce ideas around with friends and our run club, Dog Haus Run Club (DHRC) in Pasadena, CA. I recall at the original inspiration that we thought would work was a “slinky” from Michelle Hernandez at DHRC. Somehow that idea morphed into a “slinky caterpillar” which since the slinky is flexible and would give the costume some bounce. In the end you wouldn’t know our caterpillar is a slinky, however, the costume functions the same – beneath the shiny sequence fabric.
The idea for the Caterpillar just kind of stuck, and we came up with this original mockup of the costume during our flight to run the San Francisco Marathon this past July.
(Yes, it looks like it was created in Microsoft Paint… but I we Photoshop…)
How do you actually apply for a Guinness World Record attempt?
We weren’t sure where to start but we did a Google search to see what the current record was for this record, and stumbled upon a write up about a group of 4 that had run the London Marathon as a fire truck in 05:20. Since we can all run a sub 4 marathon, we thought this attempt would be within our reach and got to work on the application process.
Application starts with creating an account at Guinnessworldrecords.com. Once you have an account created you are able to do a comprehensive search of all current record holders. In order to apply we found the name of the record and put in our official application. We had to specify which Marathon, goal time, and persons on the team.
Note: You cannot attempt record without an approval from the GWR first. Build in extra time to allow for them to review and approve your attempt.
Once our application was reviewed by GWR, it proceeded to the next phase where we were given a list of criteria that must be followed in order to break the record (i.e. Costume must be carried by team, restroom break guidelines, etc). In order to get fully approved for the attempt, we also had to submit finished photos of the costume to ensure it’s instantly recognizable as a costume during the race. Our original attempt was sent back to us, and that’s where we spent a little more time to work on the stripes and put the antenna onto the RADepillar.
What was the inspiration for running the Berlin Marathon?
During a visit to the Oktoberfest celebration in Torrance, CA – we thought, wouldn’t it be awesome to visit the real Oktoberfest and run the prestigious Berlin marathon? (I’m sure not everyone thinks of running a marathon with a beer in hand, but we’ve met a few folks at the Dog Haus Running Club that are like minded.) Once the seed was planted, we were able to secure 4 entires into the marathon a few months later. (It’s all a lottery system, this 40k+ marathon sells out every year so be sure to register with a group of friends.)
My group of friends and I have been running marathons together for the last few years, and decided to attempt to break the record for the 4 person marathon in a 4 person costume. As a group we’ve raced about 6 marathons between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The team consists of Sarah Mattison, Chain Lee, Nam Gip and myself.
Since the Berlin Marathon is known for the fastest marathon in the world (and we would never come close to that in this lifetime) we thought a Guinness world record would be pretty epic!
It has been a little over a week since my friends and I traveled out to Berlin, Germany in attempt to set the Guinness World Record for fastest 4 person marathon in a costume! Still ridiculous, but we’re overwhelmed by the support and curiosity that friends, family and folks over the internet have with the Googley eyed Caterpillar (we call it the RADepillar after our friends and family cycling team) that ran the Berlin Marathon. Our official time was 04:53, which beat the previous record holder by a total of 10 minutes.
We’ve received a number of WTF and questions about how this crazy contraption actually worked, so here’s a little write-up:
My name is Michael (aka Wongie) and welcome to my blog! I’m an avid runner, amateur photographer, video guy and have an amazing group of friends that convince each other to do wacky things like run a marathon in a Caterpillar costume. Join me on my journey, as I document my adventures as I leave my job for the last 7+ years and invest the next few months to traveling and learning more about myself. First stop on this journey is Berlin, where our group of friends set a Guinness World Record for fastest 4 person marathon in a costume!