The Running Viola breaks marathon record

A Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) student has broken the world record for fastest marathon run while dressed as a musical instrument. Alistair Rutherford – who has dubbed himself ‘The Running Viola’ – ran Birmingham International Marathon on 15 October in a time of three hours, 20 minutes.

Rutherford was cheered on by fellow students, who performed two world premieres from the sidelines: a brass decet and a massed viola work, both arranged by RBC head of composition Joe Cutler.

The 21-year-old has raised almost GBP4,000 (€4,450) for ARCO, a charity that offers life changing musical training to South African children. In addition to his fundraising, Rutherford acts as a mentor to ARCO pupils.

“I cannot thank everyone enough at the RBC and ARCO, along with my family and friends, for their unwavering support throughout this challenge,” said Rutherford. “Running the Birmingham International Marathon wasn’t easy, particularly in my costume, but it was great to have them cheering me on along the route.”

Performance by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire students © RBC
Performance by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire students © RBC

It is not the first time Rutherford has run in costume for ARCO: earlier this year he ran the Liverpool Half Marathon, the Wirral Half Marathon and the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K.

“Alistair Rutherford’s energy, passion and unswerving commitment to the ARCO project, for which he is fundraising, is an example to us all,” enthused RBC head of strings Louise Lansdown. “Everyone at RBC could not be prouder of Alistair and his incredible achievements.”

More information on Rutherford’s fundraising activities is available through his JustGiving page.