Elvis-impersonating runners may be a dime a dozen, but the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon dressed as Elvis has been getting steadily faster in recent years. Michael Wardian, 45, of Arlington, Virginia, held this record at 2:38:04 in 2014, but had since lost it to Nikki Johnstone, who ran 2:37:04 at the Berlin Marathon (pending ratification). Wardian ran 2:33 at Boston and 2:35 at Big Sur this year, so trying for the Elvis record at yesterday’s St. Jude Memphis Marathon wasn’t a stretch, but unfortunately it was not to be.
Magenta Elvis is off & running! @mikewardian needs to run sub 2:37:04 here in Memphis to get his “fastest marathon as Elvis” record back! Just learned the $12M fundraising goal for @StJude has been exceeded! 🙌💗🕺🏻⚡️Go go go! #kwbpride @APSKenmore @TMobile #mangentaelvis pic.twitter.com/PgPg46ruoQ
— Jennifer Wardian (@JenniferWardian) December 7, 2019
Being in Memphis, naturally this race attracts Elvis impersonators. Unfortunately, though Wardian’s 2:37:53 result was good enough for fifth place overall and second in the 40-49 age group, it was 49 seconds off Johnstone’s record for fastest marathon dressed as Elvis.
Unfortunately, Wardian’s record would not be ratifiable even if he had beaten Johnstone’s time, due to his having worn a jumpsuit that wasn’t white. The other criteria for the Elvis record are that the jumpsuit must have flared legs and sleeves and “coloured adornments,” the runner must wear a full pompadour black wig and aviator sunglasses, and accessories like a microphone or jewellery are allowed. But according to a spokesperson for the Guinness World Records organization, the suit has to be white. (Clearly not a high-quality garment, the suit Wardian wore left magenta dye on his skin.)
Wardian reported that the weather was very warm in Memphis yesterday, which may explain why he wasn’t able to finish as fast as he would have liked.
— Jennifer Wardian (@JenniferWardian) December 8, 2019
The event, a Boston qualifier, has raised more than $12 million for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.