Sunday, April 25, 2010

That's our girl! Princess Beatrice helps set London Marathon record as 37,000 runners take part
By David Wilkes

Stretching themselves: Princess Beatrice, third from left, in Team Caterpillar led by Holly and Sam Branson

Like thousands of others, they were there to support their daughter through the ups and downs of the London Marathon.

And Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York couldn't have been more proud as Beatrice, 21, finished the race tied to 33 green tutu-wearing friends by bungee cords.

Running for her mother's Children In Crisis charity with 'Team Caterpillar', Beatrice, became the first royal to complete the race and also set the record for the largest number of runners to finish a marathon tied together.

Proud parents: Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York watch their daughter complete the London Marathon, and right, Beatrice clutching her medal

Triumph: Beatrice is embraced by boyfriend Dave Clark and then gets a big hug from her mother, the Duchess, after finishing the marathon

The Duchess of York, who also watched with her other daughter Eugenie, 20, told the BBC: 'For so long I've been trying to get her fit and now she's showing me up today.

I've just decided that if she's such a good role-model to me then next year I'm going to do it.'

Sir Richard Branson slipped on a pair of wings for the race, but the fastest celebrity to finish the London Marathon was Emerdale actor Tony Audenshaw, dressed as a baby.

Audenshaw, who plays Bob Hope on the ITV1 soap, finished in three hours and 13 minutes and was also the fastest runner ever dressed as a baby, breaking a Guinness World Record.

There were 37,000 runners aiming to complete the 26.2-mile course and among the crowds was Branson, whose Virgin empire took over sponsorship of the event for the first time.

Growing wings: Sir Richard Branson runs next to the Caterpillar Team as head butterfly

Branson ran alongside Team Caterpillar, which also included his children Holly and Sam.

Sir Richard made it round in five hours, two minutes and 24 seconds while the caterpillar took five hours, 13 minutes and four seconds.

At the end of the run Branson said: 'My legs just kept going and going. It was a fabulous day.'

Other world records fell thick and fast at the marathon, as runners dressed as cartoon characters, super heroes and even The Angel of the North, who took five hours, 24 minutes and four seconds to complete the course.

The first home was David Ross, 42, from Sutton, dressed as Fred Flintstone and brandishing an inflatable club.

Huge: George Bingham was wearing the 1/12 scale model of The Angel of the North, which took him almost ten minutes for him to get to the start line

Blur: Thousands of runners take to the streets in the 2010 Virgin London Marathon

His time of three hours, seven minutes and 34 seconds earned him the title of fastest cartoon character.

The City sales account manager, who was running his 175th marathon, said: 'I got a bit tired saying 'Yabba Dabba Doo, but it's a very proud moment. It's been a good day.'

Police officer Jill Christie, 27, from Brentford, north west London, who was dressed as Superwoman, became the fastest female dressed as a super hero, finishing in three hours, eight minutes and 55 seconds.

The fastest leprechaun was Ben Afforselles, 42, a financial analyst from Hamstreet in Kent.

He finished in three hours nine minutes 40 seconds, while the fastest runner dressed as an animal was Kevin Robins, coming home in three hours 30 minutes and one second.


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