|Alistair in training...|
Birmingham Conservatoire tells us:
Donning a custom-made viola costume, Alistair Rutherford will be running the Liverpool Half Marathon on Sunday 2 April. Created by Merseyside-based designer Brian D Hanlon, the outfit is made from lightweight Plastazote foam.
Alistair hopes to raise funds for the collaborative UK-South African project, Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music & Birmingham Conservatoire – or ARCO. This project has seen 24 strings students aged between eight and 16 in South Africa selected to participate in weekly instrumental Skype lessons, given by academics, current students and alumni of Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University.
ARCO aims to provide the benefits and life-changing inspiration of music to children in the most deprived of circumstances. Conservatoire staff and students – including Alistair – have been acting as role models for vulnerable youngsters living in Soweto, a Johannesburg township deeply affected by poverty and crime.
Running the Liverpool Half Marathon is just one of several fundraising events Alistair has organised in aid of ARCO. Last year, he ran the equivalent distance of the length of South Africa’s coastline, clocking up 1,739 miles (2798 kilometres) by the time he flew out to Johannesburg for the first ARCO Festival. Meanwhile, last month, he organised an evening of chamber music at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery.
21-year-old Alistair, from Allerton in Liverpool, said:
“After running the distance of the South African coastline during my third year of study at Birmingham Conservatoire, and previously running a marathon when I was 17, I was struggling for fundraising ideas. One evening whilst in our local pub myself and fellow ARCO teacher Matt Johnstone joked about a Guinness World Record involving both the things I love: running and the viola.
“12 weeks later my application was accepted by Guinness World Records to attempt the record for the fastest half marathon dressed as a musical instrument at the Liverpool Half Marathon! Training has been going well and I am aiming to beat the record that currently stands at one hour, 26 minutes and 57 seconds." The current record was set by Rakshith Shetty in Karnataka, India on 5 December 2015. The Indian runner ran the SBI Bengaluru Midnight Marathon while dressed as a guitar.
Louise Lansdown, Head of Strings at Birmingham Conservatoire, initiated the ARCO project in 2015. She said:
“Birmingham Conservatoire is full of admiration for Alistair’s adventurous and rather ‘off centre’ project. We are currently enjoying daily updates, including photos and videos of Alistair’s training sessions with his brand new enlarged viola! Alistair and his viola can be seen running around Edgbaston Reservoir most mornings around 7am – a sight not to be missed..."
Louise will be running a festival in Soweto as part of the ARCO Project at the same time Alistair endures his half marathon. Alistair's journey will be streamed live to the ARCO youngsters, so they can cheer him on from the other side of the world. Alistair’s childhood friend James Sharples will be cycling the route alongside him and broadcasting the race over Facebook Live.