What happened when a nine foot dinosaur - who is running the London Marathon - tried to train a six foot six clown in a Fenland park

PUBLISHED: 13:02 05 April 2019

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

A Fenland dinosaur - also known as Darren Wharton - has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

HARRY RUTTER

Have you ever seen a dinosaur training a clown to run a marathon? Well, that's what what you would have stumbled across this morning at West End Park in March...

No, we haven’t gone mad; it was all part of March man Darren Wharton’s fitness regime as he gears up to take on his ninth London Marathon in a row... while wearing a nine foot tall dinosaur costume.

Darren, who works as a supervisor at B&M Stores in Wisbech and says he “doesn’t do marathons normal”, is gearing up for the 26.2 mile run on Sunday April 28 to raise money for a new daily mile running track at his stepson’s school, Cavalry Primary.

Not only is it Darren’s ninth consecutive London Marathon, it’s his 130th marathon in nine years, having previously raised thousands for charity while dressed as a Minion, in a dress and, last year, just his boxer shorts to raise money for the Adenbrooke’s cancer ward.

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTERA Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

But this latest outfit - made and delivered by a theatre company in Newcastle - is his biggest - and heaviest - to date.

Weighing in at around seven or eight stone and with its own mechanically-controlled arms, Darren‘s not so much concerned about running in it; “even though I’ve got no movement; my arms are all squashed up inside”, he’s more worried about getting it on the train and onto the underground.

For those who can’t make it to the marathon though, Darren will be visiting children at Cavalry Primary School on May 3 to give an assembly - in his dinosaur outfit, of course - and to run a few laps with them.

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTERA Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

The idea to dress as a dinosaur came from one of the children on the Addenbrooke’s cancer ward, who he asks each time he runs a marathon to suggest costume ideas...

“If I’m not extinct after this I’m up in Sunderland two weekends after for another 5k on the Friday and a 10k on the Saturday,” laughs Darren, who says he’s always been a runner and tries to “do what I can for charity”.

Although he doesn’t have a Facebook page, donations towards Darren’s marathon can be made at Cavalry Primary School. The team at B&M have also been very supportive, he says; “I’ve had a lot of customers coming in and wishing me luck”.

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTERA Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

Plans for next year include running between every premiership football ground in the UK; something that he and his friend have already received backing from the Football Association (FA) for.

“My mate has a different dress for each one but they’re all going to be on top of each other... and I’m looking at doing the same thing too. It’s going to take us about a month to do it!

“I just love to raise money for different charities, especially because my stepson is disabled. Work are absolutely fine with it too; they let me have the time off- they know what I do for charity.”

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTERA Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

There is one downside to Darren’s constant marathon runs though: “my wife doesn’t book a holiday because she knows I’ll find a run somewhere!”

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTERA Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTERA Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

A Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTERA Fenland dinosaur – also known as Darren Wharton – has been at West End Park in March training our reporter / clown, Ben Jolley, ahead of the London Marathon. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

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