On Sunday, Amy Ellett of Kelowna, B.C., smashed the Guinness World Record at the 2023 TCS London Marathon for the fastest women’s marathon as a three-dimensional body part—yes, you read that right. The 42-year-old dentist and accomplished age-group triathlete ran the London Marathon in a tooth costume in 3:37:16.
Running in costume isn’t new for Ellett. She has previously biked and run Austin Ironman 70.3 as a bumblebee and Whistler Ironman 70.3 in a rainbow tutu. “I like running in costume,” Ellett says. “I just think it’s fun. You get more cheers.” For a Guinness World Record, Ellett said she looked up different options and found a costume category for the marathon that gave her a good chance. Plus, as a dentist who dresses up for Halloween, she already had a giant 3D tooth costume.
Ellett had to go through a special process to officially register with Guinness World Records, which included making costume alterations to ensure the “tooth” was below her knees. By adding “gums” to her outfit, she was approved by Guinness to make an official attempt in the three-dimensional body part category. Only six days after running a 3:34:03 at the Boston Marathon, Ellett travelled to London with her big, bulky tooth costume.
Since Guinness World Records is headquartered in London, the ratification process is much easier, so many record-seeking costume runners choose the London Marathon. There is a separate pre-race area for “costume-wearing record attempters” and Ellett said she found herself surrounded by dinosaurs, beer cans, a bone, a strawberry, a squirrel, and even a charcuterie board (“fastest marathon as a savoury food”). “It was the best pre-race ever, watching all the costumes arrive,” she says. “Everyone was laughing. Everyone who runs in a costume isn’t taking it seriously, so it was way more relaxed.”
Ellett may have been relaxed—and dressed as a tooth— but she still wanted to run fast. She thought her biggest challenge was going to be her tired legs, but it was the inclement weather that made things the most difficult. “It was raining, and the tooth got pretty wet and the eyes fell off. It was humid and hot inside the costume, and I didn’t think it was slowing me down that much, but at 30 km the ‘gums’ were so wet they were binding my legs together and I couldn’t run with my proper stride,” she explains. “When the eyes fell off, I was looking down, thinking it looked like I had a cavity,” she laughs. “I knew my legs were going to be trashed [from Boston] so the extra cheers helped—and I got a lot of cheers!”
Ellett took almost an hour off the world record, and was met with an official certificate from Guinness World Records at the end. “The London marathon was the best marathon experience,” she said, “and adding on the costume for a Guinness World Record was awesome. More people should do it.”
Ellett is now preparing for Kona and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Finland. Although she won’t be racing her world championship events in costume, she says she is already dreaming of running the Boston Marathon as a unicorn.