Big Ben strikes again at London Marathon as GP dresses up for charity

Big Ben is set to strike again at Sunday’s London Marathon after a Dorset GP “seized the chance” to run in the famous costume.

Simon Phillips, 44, takes the reins from Lukas Bates, whose fight for the finish line due to the size of the ensemble drew widespread reactions on social media in 2019.

The outfit was saved by Alzheimer’s Research UK as Mr Phillips now dons the tower for the 26.2 mile run in aid of the charity commemorating his father Robert who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

“I ran the London marathon in 2016 and loved it. I decided that if I ever walked it again, I would do it in a costume,” said the father-of-three.

“I asked the Alzheimer’s Research UK team for costume ideas and when they said they had the famous Big Ben costume I jumped at the chance to walk in it.

“I’ve made a few adjustments, mainly to make it more comfortable to carry and more stable, but I’ve also made it even taller by adding a flagpole at the top.”

The costume has had a tumultuous journey since the original Big Ben runner, Mr Bates, walked in the costume in support of the Dementia Revolution campaign.

He left it outside a pub after deciding not to take the costume home and agreeing that the pub’s keeper could have it.

But the costume was quickly stolen and thrown in a bin, where it was then found by a student demanding the reward of a £1,000 donation to Mr Bates’ fundraiser from presenter Piers Morgan.

It was then passed on to Alzheimer’s Research UK and has since been on display at the charity’s Cambridgeshire office.

“It’s amazing that the costume has survived,” said Mr. Bates.

“I am delighted that it is being used again, especially as it is again for such a good cause.

“I want to wish Simon the best of luck, I know how hard it is to run a marathon in it and also how difficult it is to get to the finish line.”

Mr Phillips added he wore the emblem during training in preparation for the momentous task ahead.

“I’ve done a few training runs in the costume, including wearing it at my local parkrun … I’ve also practiced bending over to help me get across the finish line!” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to the day and I’m sure audiences will love seeing the costume again. I am also proud to once again support Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“It was so sad to see how Alzheimer’s disease affected my father as he gradually deteriorated and lost his memory and mobility.

“As a GP I am also constantly reminded of this as I see many patients his age with similar problems… Only through research can we beat dementia. We urgently need new medicines.”

To learn more about Mr. Phillips’ fundraiser, go to:

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