Thursday, 07 July 2022

Man runs half marathon dressed as rat

Man runs half marathon dressed as rat

A MAN from Sonning Common ran the Reading half marathon dressed as a rat.

Paul Hodges, 53, finished in a time of just over two hours and six minutes despite running the whole way in a grey fur suit and giant rodent’s head.

He said: “I’ve done quite a few runs before but never one in costume. Kids kept shouting, ‘It’s a rat, it’s a rat’, when I passed, which I found very funny.

“There was also a woman running as a squirrel, so there was a bit of rodent rivalry. I think I beat her, though.”

The idea for the costume came when Mr Hodges saw a pest control company in Reading asking for someone to run in the outfit.

Michael Sewell, who runs Full Guard, said: “We were looking for a creative way to donate to charity and to branch out into the local community a bit. We put the offer online and that’s how we came into contact with Paul.

“We chose a rat because it’s the name of the game. We could have chosen a pigeon but I thought a rat would be more practical to run in.”

Mr Sewell donated £1,000 of Mr Hodges’s overall total of £1,170, which he is donating to the mental health charity Calm.

Mr Hodges, a teacher at John Hampden Grammar School in High Wycombe, said: “I discovered Calm and thought I’d raise funds for them. They’re a really good charity who do a lot of work for mental health in men. I ran the Brighton Marathon last year and raised £850 for them.” He had to make a few adjustments to his costume before the race.

“I had to take the stuffing out of the head and wear a cycle helmet there instead,” said Mr Hodges. “Otherwise, it was like wearing a massive tea-cosy. It just made it a little more breathable.

“It was actually a very cold day, so I was relieved to be wearing the outfit. That was up until mile 12, which was when the heat got to me. I thought I was going to give up, but I didn’t, and I’m very proud that I didn’t take the head off for the whole race.”

Mr Hodges will now take part in the Bracknell half marathon on May 15.

“I love running,” he said. “It helps you sort out a lot of things. You get in the right mind space, work out your problems and you feel good about yourself for the rest of the day. I probably won’t race in an outfit again, though. It was great to do once but I’ll do something else next time.”

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