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Michael Wardian wants to be the fastest Elvis

Wardian's 2:37:53 marathon yesterday was not fast enough to reclaim the Elvis marathon record

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.

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.

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Photo: Twitter

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.

The event, a Boston qualifier, has raised more than $12 million for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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