Sussex mum runs half marathon in wellies in less than two hours

Aileen Raynos training in wellies for the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

A woman who hopes she has set a world record for running a half marathon in wellies said she won’t be putting her boots back on any time soon while her feet recover.

Aileen Raynos completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday in one hour, 55 minutes and four seconds despite swapping her trainers for a pair of wellies.

She completed the 13.1-mile route well within the two hours, which Guinness World Records (GWR) said she needed to create a new record – although it needs to review her attempt before the time can be officially recognised.

Aileen Raynos after completing the Royal Parks Half Marathon in wellies Credit: The PHA Group/PA

“I’m not going to be wearing wellies for a long time,” Mrs Raynos said.

“My little toe is quite blistered.

“Normally the legs would hurt more because you push the muscles more, but my feet have been in pain. I don’t usually get blisters from running shoes.”

Mrs Raynos, who works in digital marketing, said she is unlikely to attempt to better her wellies record but would like to tackle some other records in the future, and is aiming for “something bonkers”.

Aileen celebrated after beating her two-hour target to create a new record Credit: Handout/PA

“I do run quite a lot. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this. It felt like more of a challenge. I wanted to do something to raise money for charity and do something a bit different.”

She remembered getting some puzzled looks when she jogged up and down the aisle while trying on wellies in garden centres before she found a pair which seemed light and flexible enough to attempt a half marathon.

She did three training runs, but said “you definitely start to feel something is not quite happy” after about six miles when the boots rubbed her little toes, and she suffered shin pain because of the lack of cushioning to absorb the impact of running.

GWR told her the boots had to be rubber or PVC and could not be altered in any way, she said.

Mrs Raynos, who has a half marathon personal best of one hour, 34 minutes, said Sunday’s run was also hard because the weather was unseasonably warm for the 16,000 runners taking part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

“It was so hot,” she said.

“Running in wellies does make you hot.”

Aileen running in wellies during the Royal Parks Half Marathon Credit: Handout/PA

Mrs Raynos, who lives with husband Alex in Cowfold, West Sussex, started running after she had daughter Maddie and wanted to “lose the baby weight”, although she said it also helps her to clear her head.

She joined Henfield Joggers and gained the confidence to increase her distance and enter races, including finishing the 2019 London Marathon in three hours, 49 minutes and four seconds.

Her marathon personal best was three hours, 34 minutes for 17 loops of Cowfold during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Maddie, now seven, is her “biggest cheerleader” and is also a keen runner who loves getting a medal, she said.

“It’s really good that she sees this as a normal thing to do, go out for a run.

“It’s something we can do together.”

The Royal Parks Half Marathon has helped to raise more £60 million for UK charities since it began in 2008.

The route takes runners through four of London’s eight Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park, and Kensington Gardens, as well past landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament.

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