Ministry of Supply CEO looks to break record for half-marathon in a suit

Ministry of Supply CEO Gihan Ministry of Supply CEO Gihan Amarasiriwardena runs in a suit.
Ministry of Supply CEO Gihan Ministry of Supply CEO Gihan Amarasiriwardena runs in a suit.

Some publicity stunts were just meant to be.

Ministry of Supply CEO Gihan Amarasiriwardena was already training for next year’s Boston Marathon when he heard that someone had broken the Guinness World Record for running a half-marathon in a suit, at 1:35:47.

The fact that October’s record run came in clothes offered by a competitor, Canadian custom suit-maker Indochino, was just another enticement. “It was definitely something that made us think, `Hey, we’ve got to take a shot at this,’” Amarasiriwardena said.

If anyone sells suits that are up to the task, it’s probably Ministry of Supply. The company combines classic men’s styles with high-performance fabrics that stretch, help keep the body cool, and pull sweat away from the skin.

As luck would have it, Ministry of Supply had recently launched a new jacket and pants — the Aviator 2 — that offered just the kind of flexibility that you’d need for 13.1 miles of pounding the pavement.

So last weekend, Amarasiriwardena laced up his Adidas running flats and hit the road for the Half MerryThon in Gloucester (he also sported a dress shirt and socks from the company’s line). His time was a speedy 1:24:41, only about two minutes off his previous best, and good enough for ninth place. “I was actually a little surprised myself that I was able to get that close,” he said.

The record-keepers at Guinness report that they’re still evaluating Amarasiriwardena’s entry, which he said was documented with witnesses, photos, and even some drone footage. As for the 2016 Boston Marathon, Amarasiriwardena hasn’t fully ruled out a more formal look.

“We’ll see,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll probably be doing this one in my regular outfit, but I might think about it.”

He wouldn’t be the first CEO to look to the city’s biggest athletic event for a little free marketing. Back in 2009, RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs famously completed the race wearing an iPhone costume bedecked with the company’s logo.