Former Chigwell world record holder reaches £1 million milestone

Gill Punt after the Boston Marathon

Gill Punt after the Boston Marathon - Credit: Gill Punt

A Chigwell teacher who broke an unusual marathon-running world record has now collected a huge £1 million for charity after dedicating more than two decades to fundraising.

Gill Punt, a teacher at Chigwell School, has raised a six-figure sum for Cancer Research over the past 23 years.

Her most recent participation in the Boston Marathon on April 18 helped push her over the one-million finish line.

“It’s the holy grail of marathon running,” Gill said of the Boston Marathon. “It’s prestigious and hard to get into. The marathon was hot, very hilly and very hard, but I was smiling all the way as it was a privilege to run Boston and hit this monumental total.”

The Boston event is the world’s oldest major marathon, returning to its traditional Patriots’ Day date for the first time in three years.

Gill added: “It was amazing and it surpassed my expectations, which were already high. The crowds were superb and the whole town goes marathon crazy.

"The enthusiastic crowd really helps when the going gets tough.”

In 2016 she broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest woman to complete a marathon in a full-body animal costume, a polar bear.

Gill Punt in her polar bear outfit with her Guinness World Record certificate

Gill Punt in her polar bear outfit with her Guinness World Record certificate - Credit: Archant

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She ran the 26.2-mile feat in four hours and 21 minutes – breaking the previous record of four hours and 30 mins - and raised close to £7,000 for the charity.

Gill Punt broke the world record for fastest marathon in an animal costume

Gill Punt broke the world record for fastest marathon in an animal costume - Credit: Archant

Her record has since been beaten by a Kate Carter, who ran the Virgin Money London Marathon in three hours and 48 minutes in 2019 while dressed as a panda.

In 2019 Gill was presented with a British Empire Medal for her impressive efforts fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

Gill was inspired to raise money for Cancer Research after her father died of bile duct cancer in 1999.

“There is probably not a family in the country who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way,” Gill said.

The determined fundraiser isn’t hanging up her running shoes yet, though.

Aside from a few smaller marathons this year, Gill is also set to tackle the London and Chicago marathons in October, a mere one week apart from each other.

Donations can be made through Gill's Cancer Research UK page at https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/more-marvellous-running-fundraising