Two Tom’s Trust runners have set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon with two female runners handcuffed together, raising more than £6,000 for children with brain tumours.
Kerry Bullen, 48, and Troi Baxter, 27, both won places in the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot, and decided to use the opportunity to set themselves an unusual challenge to raise awareness for the difficulties children with brain tumours face.
They ran the London Marathon together on Sunday 3rd October while linked at the wrists, setting a new record at 3 hours 30 minutes and 8 seconds – smashing their aim of less than 4 hours 30 minutes.
They’ve so far raised over £6,000 for Tom’s Trust, which funds psychological support for children with brain tumours and their families, beating their £5,000 target. This money can help fund care for six families for a whole year.
The extra challenge aimed to represent the disabilities faced by children with brain tumours, which are the side effects of the life-saving medical and surgical treatments they have to undergo.
Kerry and Troi said: “We are both still buzzing after Sunday and so pleased to have smashed the record to become Guinness World Record Holders at such an amazing event. We are so pleased to have raised £6,000 to support Tom’s Trust and all the incredible work the charity does.”
The pro-running pair are well-versed in running marathons, with personal bests for Kerry at 3 hours 36 minutes and for Troi at 3 hours 13 minutes. Their effort also saw them beat the mixed male/female record for the fastest marathon while handcuffed together.
Kerry has three children – Olivia, 17, Alex, 15, and Ben, 12 – and chose to raise money and awareness for Tom’s Trust because her children went to school with Tom Whiteley, in whose name the Cambridge-based charity was founded after he sadly died at the age of nine in 2010 from a brain tumour.
Kerry, who works for a wealth management company and lives in Burwell, Cambridgeshire, said: “I’ll never forget the devastating letter we got from the headteacher when we learned Tom had died. I had children the same age and I’ve been motivated to help the charity ever since.
“We wanted to do something that would on some level represent the struggles these children go through to recover from a brain tumour. Out of those who survive, the majority have lifelong disabilities as a result that need ongoing support. We wanted to do something big to draw attention to the charity and the help it gives these children and their families.”
Sunday was the fourth London Marathon Kerry has run and Troi, who is a dentist from Newmarket, Suffolk, has now run it twice. The pair left from the ‘green start’ alongside celebrities.
Debs Mitchell, Tom’s mum, who co-founded the charity, said: “We are so thrilled that Kerry and Troi smashed the world record and we were cheering them on all day.I want to say a huge thank you to them for all their phenomenal fundraising which will change the lives of children with brain tumours.
“Sadly, one in three children with a brain tumour will die, and there’s, quite rightly, a big focus on life-saving treatments. But out of those that survive, 62 percent will be left with lifelong disabilities such as blindness, hearing loss, lost motor-function or learning disabilities.
“This is a topic which often comes secondary to initial tumour treatment, but it’s a focus for us at Tom’s Trust as families need support for years after their medical treatment, due to massive life changes.
“That’s why we’re so thrilled to see Kerry and Troi draw attention to this important topic.”
To donate to Kerry and Troi’s fundraising page, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marathonhandcuffed
To sign up to your own challenge for Tom’s Trust, go to www.tomstrust.org.uk/get-involved