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The world's shortest marathon

BURNTWOOD, ENGLAND The average fun run takes a certain level of training and commitment - unless you take part in the world's shortest marathon lasting 55 yards. The wacky event - held in the United Kingdom's smallest park - resembled a normal amateur race as dozens of runners decked out in colourful fancy dress arrived to compete. But rather than slogging 26.2 miles, the 390 competitors only faced a 55 yard dash - almost 850 times shorter than a standard marathon.

Everyone in the field, ranging in age from 3 to 93, successfully completed the triangular course around the outside of tiny Princes Park in Burntwood, Staffordshire. Some managed to cover the entire route in just seven seconds, while even the slowest runner took less than a minute to finish the circuit.

The 150-year-old park sits at the centre of a road intersection and despite its size boasts a wrought-iron perimeter fence, three trees and a memorial bench.

Kevin Wilson, of organisers KP events, said Bank Holiday Monday's race had been a big success. He said: "We had a good turnout and they all got going around the park - which is just 55 steps in total.

Competitor Sharon Grey, 21, from Lichfield, Staffs., said the event had brought local people together. She said: "It was nice to see the community get together around the park. We don't notice it's there any more but it was nice to be reminded we've got such a unique landmark on our doorsteps. Some of the costumes were great, too, it was a really good day."

Dad Adrian Taylor, 39, from Moseley, Birmingham, came to watch daughter Leah, 14, run the course. He said: "It's a good bit of fun, I slung her a few quid of sponsor money but if she thinks she's getting any more than that she'll have to do a proper marathon."

The park was created to commemorate the marriage of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863. The three commemorative trees at the park are named Faith, Hope and Charity.

All proceeds from the race were donated to the We Love Lichfield charity.

Credits - This true article, "Is that it? Fun runners take on 'world's shortest marathon', lasting 55 yards", was published on "Yahoo News".


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