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One fast banana

“I think being different, going against the grain of society is the greatest thing in the world.” – Elijah Wood

So many of us try to just fit in and get through life. Few step outside of the ordinary and do something extraordinary, like chasing a world record. Fewer still do so by running 21.1K dressed as a banana.

On Oct. 20, David Hiddleston ran his way into the Guinness record books by being the fastest half-marathoner dressed as a fruit when he crossed the finish line in a banana costume at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront race weekend in 1:25:45. I caught up with Hiddleston in order to peel away at the complex layers of this unusual man.

David in Toronto en route to a half-marathon world record.
David in Toronto en route to a half-marathon world record.

David “Banana” Hiddleston

David is a 47-year-old Scot originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. While living in Ireland, Hiddleston met Terry, a Canadian woman, and they relocated to Toronto together and married. He’s been in Canada for six years.

They have no kids, which leaves more time for running. When not working as a property manager, Hiddleston can be found slipping on his running shoes. He has been running since his 30s and has PBs of 2:47 for the marathon and 1:19 for the half-marathon. Hiddleston is an experienced marathoner, having run 11 marathons, including London, New York, Boston, Berlin and Chicago.

Terry wasn’t surprised by him donning the fruit suit. “What’s more bonkers? Running in a banana suit or running in the tempest that almost flooded Toronto this summer, she said. “David is happy to run in any and all conditions to get his miles in and strive for that elusive PB at all distances.”  Terry is also proud of her husband for the benevolent reason for powering through Toronto as a plantain. “I am delighted that he was able to raise some funds for Princess Margaret Hospital as we have recently lost a dear friend to cancer.”

I usually find bananas enjoyable (unless they are mushy and overripe) and am always impressed by those who push the limits. After his world record run in Toronto I caught up with David and asked him a few questions.

What was the reason you decided to run as a banana and aim for the world record?

It was all a last minute thing actually. Thing is I currently hold the world record for the half-marathon dressed as a mascot. I achieved this at the STWM in 2011 dressed as a dog. The problem was that I was running the Chicago Marathon the week before STWM so I was initially unsure about attempting it. Mut a few days before Chicago I said to heck with it lets do it and at the same time try and raise some cash for Princess Margaret Hospital. I ended up raising $600 in a very short period of time.

How difficult was it to run that fast in a banana costume?

Fortunately, the weather wasn’t too hot so the costume wasn’t too uncomfortable. The hardest bit was the having it tight around my head. Even though the weather wasn’t too warm on the day I still got pretty hot in the head. That said, the spectators and the other runners seemed to love it and it was fun waving at them all, especially the kids who couldn’t quite work out what was going on.

Any more costumed running objectives coming up? Or running goals sans costume?

Not at the moment but I may one day have a crack at the marathon record dressed as a mascot, which is around the four-hour mark, so it seems very achievable. The marathon record dressed as a fruit is 2:58, so that would take a lot more effort. My running goals minus the costume are to try and run a marathon below 2:45, which is something I have tried unsuccessfully to do in my last two marathons. I am running the Greater Manchester Marathon in England next spring.

What does it feel like to be a world record holder?

I just see these records as a bit of fun. I run seriously (as an amateur) for most of the year, so it is good to go out there and do something a bit quirky.

Like I have said many a time in past blogs, life is short. Perhaps we should all peel off the restrictive skin of normalcy once in a while and feel what’s its like to split from the ordinary. Run on, David.

See you on the roads or in the blogosphere.

Do you have a running story to tell?