The man who wins the April 13 London Marathon will likely have to run under 2:05 against one of the strongest fields ever assembled for a 26.2-mile race. He may need to dip below 2:04, if the conditions are favorable.
That’s difficult and daunting. But the elites won’t be doing four marathons on the London course in 24 hours, and they won’t be carrying any 94-pound refrigerators on their backs. That will be left to Tony “The Fridge” Morrison, who’s accomplished far more ambitious tasks when running while toting the heavy household appliance. There are, as one might guess, a panoply of occupational hazards, and imminent disasters, in Morrison’s chosen recreation.
“Are you unhinged,” Harry Wallop of the Telegraph in the UK asked the 49-year-old Morrison.
“That’s probably the best way to describe me,” said Morrison, who is from Newcastle, England and will be raising funds for cancer research.
Morrison’s task in London pales in comparison to his other running-with-a-fridge achievements. He and his refrigerator have covered the route of the Great North Run, a half marathon, 30 times in 30 days. He and his beloved fridge once did the 874-mile route from Land’s End in Great Britain’s southwest corner to John O’Groats in the northeast – when he must have worked up quite an appetite for groats.
“It took me 40 days,” Morrison said. “The worst bit was that on day four I fell late at night, I stepped off the road in the darkness. I knocked myself out and broke my left femur. I ran 800 miles with a fractured femur. Hobbled. The whole thing was traumatic from that moment on, it was pure agony.”
Morrison began running as a child after his father was killed in a car accident. “When I got upset, I started to run,” he told Wallop. “When I was running, I never considered where I was going, and I never wanted to look back at where I’d been. I was just in the now, and I found it a way of escaping from the world.”
When he chose to use running as a fundraiser for cancer research in 2011, “I wanted to pay tribute to people fighting cancer by taking on this impossible journey with this huge burden,” said Morrison. He may have taken up the refrigerator, quite literally, because his eight-year-old son thought “Tony the Fridge” was a cooler nom de guerre than “Tony the Oven.”
Writer Wallop attempted to take lessons from Morrison on how to run with a refrigerator on one’s back and quickly learned that one key is to avoid straightening up, or you’ll topple backwards. To remain upright, keep leaning forward.
If it sounds like one of those activities that one might do because it feels so good when it’s over, well, Morrison doesn’t refute that. “It’s like the guy who wore shoes three sizes too small when he went to work, just so he could take them off during the day,” is the analogy he makes. “It was the only pleasure he had.”