Tuesday, 5 May 2009


Still smiling, though there's fourteen miles to go (taken just after the small video clip below). Over £800 so far on the JustGiving site!
Here we are, not quite yet halfway and still able to jog somewhat. It's not entirely obvious that this is a Great Big Hill that gently slopes up for four miles or so and rises about 350ft.

Of course, the field had thinned out a little at this point.

Monday, 4 May 2009


Finished in less than six hours - 5:59:21; hurrah!

Ivan and I started right at the back along with many of the walkers, and it took us over eight minutes just to reach the start line where the timing chip was registered.

Unfortunately the chain vest seems to have interfered with the timing chip in my number (74), so there's no exact recording of my time. Fortunately Ivan was running right beside me for the duration so I can use his chip time - 5:59:21, on a clock time of 6:07:42.

Results here

Race day

...well, I say race - more of "can I get to the finish in six hours or less".

Sunday, 3 May 2009

1 day to go

The best word for today is "trepidation".

JustGiving currently gives the total raised as £735, which is the silver lining on tomorrow's forecast of rain, more rain, followed by some heavy rain then just rain again.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Construction tools
I made the vest over seven or so months, starting with a lot of 2mm steel fencing wire. Coil it round an 8mm metal rod, cut into lots of rings, join rings together, close rings up.

Lots more on making mail can be found on the web, my original inspiration was a simple page here.

2 days to go

Vest all tidied up, sleeves trimmed and so forth. Final weight, 11.3 kg or 25 lb (and possibly an kilo or two if I finish a coif by Monday).

The mail tries to saw its way through my shoulders, so running needs some padding - two small sections from one end of an exercise mat. I've tried a selection of soft materials, and so far this is the best, though it makes the remaining exercise mat slightly less useful.

Something is niggling in my mind that I should be eating lots of pasta. Or maybe that's tomorrow.

It's a good day today, so picking up the race pack will be a great excuse for a gentle dander round Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon park in Belfast; recommended if you ever have the chance to pass by.

3 days to go (Fri)

I headed to the gym today for what will be the last serious strenuous activity before Monday. Also, I started (quite late) on some leather vambraces for my fore arms, just to see if it would look OK. There's no time for a long run with the vambraces so I'll have to hope they don't chafe.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

4 days to go

Rain, rain, rain. Hopefully by this evening when I'll get to go out it'll have stopped.

As you can see, my brother Ivan (who's running with me, as he puts it, to call the ambulance when needed) now has his costume sorted. At least on the day we'll be noticeable.

Of course, there's a small fan to keep the horse inflated which, with a fully charged set of batteries, operates for about 2 hours. So we'll have the odd spectacle of a battery change at least twice, and that raises the question of where to carry the spares.

5 days to go (Wed)

Work and family took up all of today; my only sop to training was some hours spent around the house wearing the mail vest. And the shoulder pads, but more on them later. Only another day or so of running left.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

6 days to go

A short and sweet two mile jog tonight. Oddly enough, my knee hurt less after the run than it did before it. After being berated for heading out on a sixteen mile run with a litre of water and no suger/carbs/anything, I bravely consumed a whole Mars Bar before running tonight; it didn't appear to make my leg hurt less, nor did I feel much bouncier than before.

So far, attempts to keep a small chainmail coif on my head whilst running have failed; it persists in either flopping down over my eyes, or falling backwards to start strangling me. Borrowing a helmet or armouring cap from some friends may be the only way to have a medieval hat. Without it, if Monday is a sunny day then suncream-soaked sweat will be streaming into my eyes, and I'll run into a lamppost.

The Belfast Marathon site now has the results pages up, and there's really not many runners coming in after six hours. Many of them were over 60. I'm trying not to consider the possibility of coming last.

Monday, 27 April 2009

7 days to go

I'm going for a rest day today.

The weekend didn't generate many photos, as I mostly slept after the run on Sunday. But there was this one of me looking silly, which I've also put up on the JustGiving page.

It's amazingly easy to annoy your wife by heading out on runs. Only a week more of patience required.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

8 days to go

The long run, admittedly only sixteen miles. Finished in a reasonably dreadful 3:42, and the rain mostly held off. Were I to keep that pace up I'd finish a marathon in just over six hours.

After eleven miles, I found myself dropping to a walk much more frequently and for longer periods. The worst point was passing thirteen miles, where it occurred to me that in a week I'd be doing another thirteen starting here.

I'm learning some things though. For instance I'll go through the litre of water I bring with me in seven to ten miles, less if it's sunny; and running without water isn't good. I'll become hungry after about five miles. May address both of these by trying some sugary drink though.

9 days to go

A quiet day, interspersed with lots of looking-after-kids and shaping a short sleeve for the chainmail.

Friday, 24 April 2009

10 days to go

I finally have the JustGiving website available here

My brother Ivan is going to run the marathon as well, wearing (I am told) an inflatable cowboy suit. So we may have to stop en-route for a battery change on the fan, seeing as I'm not going to set any speed records.

Come the weekend, I'll have time to put up some photos and miscellaneous other details.

Friday night rained and it rained and I wimped out, taking the option of making some (very) short mail sleeves rather than a run. Here's hoping it doesn't rain on Marathon day.

11 days to go

At the gym today, but no run. So tired, but not sore.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

12 days to go

There's twelve days to go before I run the Belfast Marathon in some medieval armour; the heavy part is the big chainmail vest (or maille haubergeon, if you like) that currently weighs in at just over 10kg or 22lb.

I wanted to see if I could raise some funds for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC) by doing something a bit different. That, and to amuse those people who know me & my general lack of fitness.

My two year old son required a week in the neurosurgery ward a year ago, and all is well now - though I wanted to do more than just feel grateful to the dedicated medical staff. And this is it.