A WINCHESTER man has broken a Guinness World Record at this year's London Marathon – for being the fastest runner dressed in a sleeping bag.

Ben Burfoot, who lives in Fulflood, set a new record of three hours, 41 minutes and 59 seconds, beating the previous top time by just over two minutes.

The 44-year-old ran in a sleeping bag to raise awareness of homelessness, looking to receive vital funds for the charity Winchester Churches Nightshelter.

Ben said: "It’s great to be a world record holder, but towards the end I was just close enough to the former record to be a bit nervous, so I really had to speed up.

"The race was fine most of the time though, and really, really fun. The amount of support on the course is just unbelievable, particularly when you’re dressed in something as unusual as a sleeping bag!

"You’ve really got to dig deep, but the support helps get you round.”

Ben launched the training for his sleeping bag challenge at Winchester Parkrun in February, where he was joined by Nightshelter representatives and supporters.

He has been regularly running around the city in his sleeping bag, much to the amusement of local people.

Ben added: "There were lots of factors that could have impacted on my performance on the day itself, however the weather was absolutely perfect for running in a sleeping bag – cloudy and overcast, with a breeze, which definitely helped me break the World Record.

"A big thank you to all those who have supported my campaign."

To break the World Record, which was adjudicated on the day by Guinness World Records, Ben had to run the 26.2-mile course wearing his sleeping bag upside down, with the zip done up to his shoulders and his arms tucked inside, leaving his feet free to run.

His fundraising campaign has raised almost £2,500 for the charity, which helps those experiencing homelessness in Hampshire.

Michele Price, manager at the Nightshelter, said: "We’re always incredibly grateful when our supporters raise money for us, and this is probably one of the most unusual ways that anyone has ever done so! "We are thrilled that Ben achieved his aim of breaking the world record for sleeping bag running, and in such high-profile fashion, too! "Everyone at the Nightshelter thanks Ben for all his hard work, and the vital funds he has raised for the charity."