Birmingham Conservatoire student runs marathon dressed as a giant viola

A straightforward idea brilliantly executed. I’m not entirely sure whether viola player and marathon runner Alistair Rutherford appreciates quite how funny he looks in his ‘lightweight Plastazote foam’ outfit. As unexpected news events go, this one was a surprise with a rich collection of supporting material. Included here for your delectation.

Alistair – also known as ‘The Running Viola’ – ran in yesterday’s Birmingham International Marathon completing the race in 3 hours, 20 minutes, and 33 seconds. He beat his personal best. He also broke the Guinness World Record for the fast marathon run in a musical instrument costume. No, I didn’t know there was such a record either.

There was a charitable angle to all of this, inevitably. Alistair is set to raise at least £4,000 for a UK-South African project, Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music & Birmingham Conservatoire. The collaboration provides weekly instrumental Skype lessons given by academics, students and Birmingham Royal Conservatoire alumni to music students in deprived circumstances in South Africa.

Money raised from Alistair’s world record attempt will enable his pupil, Njabulo Nxumalo, aged 17, to fly over to the UK next month, along with Kwanda Buthelezi, aged 13, and Mbali Phato, aged 12, and perform in a concert on Saturday 18 November as part of the second Cecil Aronowitz Viola Competition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

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