Eastbourne hotel owner sets new world record

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An Eastbourne hotel owner has become a world record holder while raising thousands of pounds for a local hospice.

Neil Kirby, who owns the Langham Hotel in Royal Parade, raised £7,500 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice as he became the first 70-year-old to run a marathon on a treadmill.

Mr Kirby completed the run outside the front of the hotel in four hours and 26 minutes on Saturday, November 26.

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He said: “It’s great because they need the money. People aren’t donating to charities because they have to pay the bills and buy food. It’s great that these people have donated £7,500 to St Wilfrid’s.”

Langham Hotel owner Neil Kirby (right)Langham Hotel owner Neil Kirby (right)
Langham Hotel owner Neil Kirby (right)

Mr Kirby’s attempt, which was his 50th marathon, was verified by two adjudicators from ‘The International World Record Breakers' Club’ and not the Guinness World Records group. The hotel owner was not allowed to touch the treadmill’s buttons as part of the attempt.

More than 200 people, including former royal protection officer Richard Griffin, attended the event as a gazebo was set up for spectators.

Mr Kirby said: “They were great, the mayor was there, many non-residents and residents were there. I had over 100 people staying and half of them were staying to support me.”

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As part of the event Mr Kirby was joined by runners on another treadmill who took shifts to keep the hotel owner company. The hotel’s general manager ran in a suit and running shoes, the chef ran in their chef whites and Mr Kirby’s son also hopped on the treadmill.

Neil Kirby (in the white vest) completing the world record charity runNeil Kirby (in the white vest) completing the world record charity run
Neil Kirby (in the white vest) completing the world record charity run

The hotel owner explained that the hardest part of the challenge was focusing on where he was running. He said: “A couple of times I turned my head and almost lost my balance.”

St Wilfrid’s community fundraising manager Sarah Marsh said: “Neil and the Langham Hotel have supported us in so many ways over the years and it was a privilege to be there on Saturday to witness Neil achieve this amazing world record. All at St Wilfrid’s are thrilled that he completed his marathon in under four hours and 30 minutes and we are so grateful for all the donations that were given in support of his endeavour. So far we are at £7,500, which could be used to care for a patient on our inpatient unit for 19 days. Thank you so much, Neil.”

Mr Kirby has raised around £350,000 over the years and often chooses to donate to local charities. The hotel owner said he is thinking about organising a 24-hour treadmill relay in the spring to raise money.

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St Wilfrid’s Hospice supports adults with life-limiting illnesses in and around Eastbourne, Seaford, Hailsham, Uckfield and Heathfield. If you would like to donate please contact the Langham Hotel or St Wilfrid’s Hospice.