First Costume Run of 2015
Last year I wore one of the fabulous stormtrooper costumes produced by Andrew Ainsworth at Shepperton Studios. He’s the guy who, back in 1976, designed and manufactured the original stormtrooper costumes for the Star Wars films. My costume was made using the same moulds, and in the same factory, making it pretty authentic.
However, these costumes were designed to be worn by actors walking around a studio, and occasionally falling over (and cracking their heads on parts of the Death Star). They were most definitely not designed for running in, and certainly not running 10k or more.
As a result, my costume took rather a hit, and over the course of 2014 it developed cracks and splits, the plastic shattered in some places, and on one occasion my groin fell off. That’s something no chap should ever have to contend with when running.
Fortunately I got quite handy with making repairs. I got through more hot glue sticks, velcro and neoprene than ever before in my life.
But ultimately the costume simply couldn’t cope with the intense bashing and crashing of mile after mile, and started to look rather shabby.
Which is where the fantastically kind people at Original Stormtrooper stepped forward. OriginalStormtrooper.com is the online store for Shepperton Studios, and is the only place where you can buy Andrew Ainsworth’s original stormtrooper costumes and accessories. Andrew himself had heard early on in 2014 about my challenge, and he and I spoke several times with him offering me advice and suggestions on modifications and repairs.
Towards the end of 2014 Andrew and the kind people at Shepperton Studios offered to donate a complete, brand new Stormtrooper costume, completely free! Bearing in mind this costume retails at £599, that was a heck of a donation, and much appreciated.
I’d be very grateful if you could take a minute to have a look at their website. Maybe you’ll even be tempted to buy something! They sell much more than just stormtrooper costumes.
So the problem I faced this year was trying to make the same modifications to the new costume that I made to the old one. I had to trim a little off the top of the shin armour at the back, just to let me bend my knees a bit to run, and knowing about the groin problem I’ve trimmed off some of the armour at the top of the thighs too. All in all I made quite a few subtle cuts and tweaks to help make the suit more comfortable to run in, and less likely to break.
Having made those changes I needed to test it out, and as with last year, the Humber Bridge offered the ideal training ground for me. It’s a one mile dead straight stretch of pavement with no kerb, no junctions, no potholes and no hills. Perfect. The kind people at the Humber Bridge Board have once again given me the green light to train along the bridge, and last night was the first of those training runs.
The evening kicked off on my way up to the bridge itself, bumping in to the very nice members of the West Hull Ladies Running Club, who were also out for a run ahead of the Hull 10k. They insisted on getting a photograph, the result of which is below!
The run itself went well, although my left calf did begin to cramp a little. I realised that I hadn’t quite trimmed off enough at the back, and couldn’t raise my leg much, meaning that I was having to use my calf muscle much more on that side to literally bounce myself along on my toes. The thigh armour was a bit too tight too. I still made it across the whole bridge and back though, and felt great.
I’ve now made a few further changes to the suit, ready to head out across the bridge again on Wednesday.
I certainly realised just how much I’ve missed all of the friendly hoots, smiles and waves as I pound along in the iconic armour. Everyone loves a stormtrooper it seems, and especially one running miles to try to help keep vulnerable children safe from harm.
Remember, you can help support this great cause by either texting STOR50 £5 to 70070, or visiting https://www.justgiving.com/stormrunning.