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Great South Run 2014


This was my second time completing the 10 mile route through Portsmouth which is the Great South Run, although my first time as a stormtrooper! I loved it – it’s one of my favourite runs, and as ever, the support was incredible. An extra boost was having my parents and son, Jack, with me, waiting at the finish line.

As ever, the fun began well before the race started. I always make sure that I’m in costume at least an hour before the race starts, and spend that time limbering up, warming up, and meeting people. I’m usually in quite a large number of #selfiewithastormtrooper photos each race day!

The race itself was great fun – not too hot compared to many of the other runs I’d done this year. The strong winds in the final two-mile stretch were barely noticeable in the costume, and once I’d crossed the finish line I met up with my son and parents, and took a gentle stroll back to the car park, meeting a large number of children and Star Wars fans.

For the first time this year though I did something a bit silly.

When I am in costume doing a run I refuse to take my helmet off, because I don’t want to spoil the illusion for the children. They see the costume and they imagine a mysterious soldier from another galaxy. If I took the helmet off they’d just see a slightly overweight, balding, middle-aged bloke from Yorkshire. So the helmet stays on.

But of course this means I can’t drink. Throughout my training I have practised drinking plenty before a race, and then not drinking until well after the race is finished. Usually I can manage pretty well, but after the 10 miles of the Great South Run I was absolutely gasping, grabbed two bottles of water from the finish line and headed off round behind a van to remove my helmet and downed a complete 500ml bottle of cool water. Heaven

Except a few moments later I felt awful. I’d obviously sweated a great deal in the costume, and lost a lot of salt. Drinking so much water so quickly had really upset my sodium levels, and made me feel really ill. It took a good half hour of bending over a bush where nobody could see me before I felt well enough to walk. The helmet went on once I was confident I wouldn’t be sick, but it took another couple of hours before I could manage anything to eat.

I have definitely learned from this, and won’t make that mistake again. I do have a CamelBak, and am looking into the possibility of installing some sort of hydration system for use during runs next year. (Any suggestions very welcome.)

Yes, that’s right – next year. This was the last official run of 2014, but I have enjoyed it so much that I am doing it all over again next year in 2015!

Below you can watch a video of me crossing the finish line:

You can see a few photographs below of me coming up to the finish line – tired, thirsty, and very hot, but completely happy!

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