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Published: Tuesday, 4/28/2009

'Rocky' wants to prove that he's a champ to Guinness

Now that Ryan Desgrange has beat the odds, he's doing some homework, and some paperwork.

Dressed as Rocky Balboa, Mr. Desgrange competed Sunday in the Glass City Marathon in an effort to set a Guinness world record for fastest marathon in a film character costume.

"He did it. The easy part is over," said his father, Doug Desgrange, of Liberty Center, noting that Ryan outdistanced the current record holder by more than 15 minutes.

Now, the Desgranges are working swiftly to compile news articles, print photographs, and edit video. They must dot all the i's and cross the t's required to comply with the rules and regulations of Guinness World Records.

Everything must be done correctly to make sure to verify that this was a "legal" Guinness record, said Doug.

Ryan, a Liberty Center High School grad who was known as Rocky or the Rock at Eastern Michigan University when he ran 120 miles in a week, recently decided to test his nickname.

After obtaining permission from Guinness, Ryan stepped up his training, and it paid off.

Ryan, who won the 2006 Glass City Marathon with a record time of 2 hours and 27 minutes, made his move Sunday against the costume record set in 2008. That record, according to the Desgranges, was held by Ian Sharman, dressed as Maximus, the Gladiator movie character, who ran the 2008 New Forest Marathon in 3 hours, 22 minutes, and 33 seconds.

Ryan, 29, of Howell, Mich., noted Monday that the weather was hot during the marathon in Toledo Sunday, and was much hotter for him, considering he was dressed in the Rocky costume, complete with boxing gloves and black-haired wig. He clocked in at 3:04:48.

It was the city's awareness of what he was doing, he said, that helped propel him to beat the current world record by 18 minutes. And that should be one for the books.

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