Big Ben runner hopes to make good time in London Marathon record attempt

A London Marathon runner who is attempting a world record dressed as Britain’s most famous clock is hoping Sunday will not be too windy after he was blown off course during a previous run.

Lukas Bates needed a helpful push from other runners when he wore his Big Ben costume during the Vitality Big Half in London when strong winds blew him off the course at Canary Wharf.

Virgin Money London Marathon
Lukas was blown over by wind at the Vitality Big Half (Alzheimer’s Society & Alzheimer’s Research UK/PA)

Mr Bates, 30, from Maidstone, Kent, is hoping for calmer weather as he aims to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon dressed as a landmark building which stands at three hours, 34 minutes and 34 seconds.

Although many people use the name Big Ben for the famous clock at Elizabeth Tower at the north end of the Houses of Parliament, the name was first given to the Great Bell which is housed inside.

The quantity surveyor, who is running in support of the Dementia Revolution, has a marathon personal best of two hours and 59 minutes but said beating the record is going to be a big challenge with the costume towering 1.5 metres above his head.

Lukas wearing the Elizabeth Tower costume
Lukas wearing the Elizabeth Tower costume (Alzheimer’s Society & Alzheimer’s Research UK/PA)

“Having run the London Marathon four times previously, this year I decided I wanted to do something different, have a bit of fun and wear a crazy costume,” he said.

“It’s going to be very hard to break the record with the costume I’ve chosen. I could have made it smaller and easier to carry, but I want it to be a real challenge.

“I’ve made the costume lighter, but wind is still a massive issue because of the shape and size of it. Even a little breeze can push me sideways.

“The Big Half was pretty scary – at one point I literally couldn’t stand up. I’m just praying for a still day for the marathon.”

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said running conditions should be ok for the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday: “Thankfully it’s not tomorrow (Saturday) which will be too windy to be running.”

He said there will be winds of about 10-15mph with occasional gusts of 20-25mph but “by the time we get to 10-11am the winds should be easing back a smidge”.

He added: “There will be a fairly brisk breeze but not too windy.”

“By the time he crosses the line the wind should be dropping even further.”

Lukas Bates with his costume
Lukas’s personal best without a costume is two hours 59 minutes (Alzheimer’s Society & Alzheimer’s Research UK/PA)

Mr Snell said it will not be too hot either with temperatures of around 12-13C expected by the end of the race.

“I imagine he will still be quite warm in his costume if there are any glimmers of sunshine,” he added.

Mr Bates will be looking to break the record set by Richard Mietz at the Berlin Marathon in September last year.

Richard ran dressed as the Holstentor city gate in Lubeck.

Mr Bates has chosen to support the Dementia Revolution, the one-year campaign from Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, as both his grandmothers have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

One grandmother died last year, while the other is living in a care home.

Dementia Revolution is the charity of the year for this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon.

To sponsor Lukas go to

For further information about the Dementia Revolution go to