Make-up artist hopes to become fastest drag queen to run London Marathon

Ryan Walklett dressed in his London Marathon outfit Credit: PA

A hair and make-up artist is attempting to become the fastest male drag queen to run the London Marathon in a bid to break the stigma around sport and the LGBTQ+ community.

Ryan Walklett, 30, from Bermondsey, London, hopes to run 26.2 miles in under four hours to become a new Guinness World Record (GWR) holder all while donning a blue and silver bodysuit, complete with rhinestone trainers and a blonde ponytail measuring 32 inches.

Mr Walklett, who ran his first London Marathon in 2017, will be raising money for the Terrence Higgins Trust, a charity which provides information about HIV and sexual health.

He hopes running in his drag outfit will break the stigma around sports and the LGBTQ+ community.

Ryan Walklett ran his first half-marathon in drag in 2019 Credit: Ryan Walklett

The hair and make-up artist told the PA news agency: “In my head, the connotation between sport and my job was never a correlation.

“It was one of those things at school where if you were a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and doing PE, it didn’t seem to correlate.

“I love the idea I’m pulling them together. It’s seeing somebody combining sport and being the member of the (LGBTQ+) community… just having that visual representation.”

He said his drag outfit, which has similar colours to the Terrence Higgins Trust logo, was inspired by drag queen A’Whora, who appeared on the second series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and by the USA relay team running gear.

Mr Walklett, who ran his first half-marathon in drag in 2019, is looking forward to the London Marathon, but he questioned whether the glitter on his outfit might become an issue during the race.

He joked: “The glamorous problems I’ve had was how much glitter is too much glitter? How do I still be glittery, but then not have it running to my eyes?”

Mr Walklett said he will be hosting a series of wig sales to raise his target of £3,500 for the Terrence Higgins Trust, a charity which helped him through school.

“When I was in school, we had no education about being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community,” he explained.

“I remember having an English teacher who came over and spoke to me once and said, ‘I know what you’re going through; I can’t talk about it’, because teachers weren’t allowed to talk about these things in schools.

“It was charities like the Terrence Higgins Trust that I wanted to be educated on how to live safely and navigating sexual health.

“It provided a form of education I wasn’t getting.”

He said the charity has been “really supportive” and praised the work it is doing to help young people within the LGBTQ+ community.

“Seeing their work, with education and providing knowledge, knowing that the small thing that I’m doing is helping educate kids in a way that we never had,” he said.

“It’s really exciting to know that the next generation won’t have to go through what we did.”

Ryan Walklett, who ran his first marathon in 2017, will attempt to break a Guinness World Record Credit: Ryan Walklett

Mr Walklett hopes to “put a smile on people’s faces” and said he will be “channelling” Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes as he hopes to make a memorable finish line moment.

“I will just try to summon up any energy that I’ve got left to have a big dramatic Kelly Holmes moment at the end,” he said.

He hopes his drag-inspired run will encourage the LBGTQ+ community to try new challenges and wants to see more drag queens running the London Marathon in the future.

He said: “None of us are assigned to boxes and you can do whatever you want.

“Actually, I can do what I love and I can put those things together and they don’t have to be separate entities.”

He added: “And more queens doing it next year.”

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