Rock up at almost any running event and you’ll soon catch brave/hardy souls running in fancy dress. Wonder woman, a giraffe, anime characters….. there at the starting line ready to braving extreme heat, a couple hundred weight of extra kilos to carry around their half or full marathon. And why? Usually for charity, right. To raise cash for a good/great cause. And more power to them! Today’s featured runner though is a real special case. And for a fully paid up Star Wars lover, as well as avid runner, Jez Allinson has reached true hero status!!
I caught up with his story and amazing fundraising efforts. And you’ll see a great example of how a bit of imagination can make a massive difference!
The Birth of the Running Storm Trooper
As with any amazing stories such as Mr. Allison’s, there are so many questions that need answering. Like how did you start running, why running in fancy dress? And why as a storm trooper. And like so many interesting true-life stories they have a strange and powerful logic (it is your destiny!! – Star Wars reference for you there!!:-))
So why run for charity? And which charities?
In 2015 I ran the London Marathon to raise money for the amazing charity CLIC Sargent. Completing my first marathon was such an amazing experience, I knew I had to do it again.
Prior to that event I had supported Oxfam, SAAFA and the RAF Benevolent Fund in other charity runs, I changed charities every year as I liked to mix things up. -Jez.
And what charity did you choose for the storm trooper runs?
For 2016 I decided to raise money for Make A Wish as the charity grants magical wishes to enrich the lives of children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. After reading about some of the wishes, I realised that this was a charity I really wanted to get behind.
OK- it’s all pretty normal stuff so far- man likes running and also likes helping those in need. but….
Why running in Fancy dress…..and as a Storm Trooper??
As anyone who’s done any fundraising over a period of time, there’s only limited times you can hit up your friends and family for donations. You have to up your game to attract donations from outside. And this means thinking outside the box and doing something different.
This is exactly what Jez did.
Star Wars has been a passion of mine since I was a 5 year old. The costumes are iconic, instantly recognisable and appeal across the generations.
It was August 2015 when I decided that i’d run again but in order to really earn some sponsorship for Make A Wish I would attempt to run the marathon dressed in full Stormtrooper armour.
There you go, completely logical, right? Perhaps not, but a great idea for getting to back his great cause.
Bearing in mind, running in a full Storm Trooper outfit would be hot, heavy and uncomfortable, you’d be best going for a 5k. Or a ten km race at most.
Not our main man Jez…………
The first run was a full marathon (yep you read that right!) and he came in at 5 hours 26 secs @ the London Marathon 2016. A very respectable time for someone even in normal running gear.
Not to slacken off, next year was back at the Virgin London Marathon 2017. This time for a world record attempt!
And of course he did it- the fastest time for someone dressed as a storm trooper! Amazing.
Then some clever so-and-so decided to take his record from him……. So back to London for the 2018 edition for another attempt to reclaim that record.
The weather had other ideas though- with forecasts of 24 plus degree temperatures. Warnings went out about running in fancy dress- basically don’t do it!
With serious health issues at play, our main man Jez decided the costume would stay, but the record breaking attempt did not. He completed the run though- with his life intact! Check out his amazing personal account here.
Anybody would forgive Jez if he hung up his helmet and returned the Storm Trooper gear to its owner. But that would have been too predictable. And there was still funds to be raised. So what do you do? You raise the bar even further!!
In 2017 we went ultra (ultra means any distance over the 26.2 miles mark of a full marathon) with a 40 mile run around Black Park next to Pinewood Studios (where a large part of the original Star Wars was shot of course).
The whole thing was cranked even further when 2018 saw an attempt at 100km! And you can see him completing this latest challenge in the Instagram shot at the top of this page!
Show me the money
This would only be half a story if it was just a crazy man running around in a Storm Trooper out fit. There’s also the vast amounts of money he has raised.
This is how much his latest venture had raised so far!
If you want to help out- just jump over to his fund raising page here.
If you’re reading this and thinking of running in fancy dress to raise charity money then let this story be an inspiration to you. And remember- think outside the box.