Stormrunning – the story of a Stormtrooper running for charity
It was in mid-2013 when Justin Arnold, writer, teacher and general creative, decided it was time to plan something epic. So in an act that would be the envy of many sci-fi fanatics, Justin began his transformation into an infamous Stormtrooper from the classic Star Wars films.
But far from preparing for space combat, this Stormtrooper had another mission in mind - a mission to help Kidscape continue its vital work protecting children and young people across the UK from the shattering effects of bullying. So throughout the course of 2014-15 Justin is taking part in a number of long distance running events across the UK dressed from head to toe in his 25lb armour and full head gear.
So far Justin has run just under 100 miles across a range of events including the Leeds, Hull and York 10k races, the Southport Half and Bournemouth Marathon. He has received a great deal of publicity such as a meet and greet event at Toys "R" Us in Hull, coverage on a number of BBC local radio shows and a front page feature interview for Running Life magazine.
Justin is still going strong and intends to continue running throughout 2015. Here's a little bit more from the Stormtrooper himself on this exciting challenge…
Why are you supporting Kidscape?
Kidscape is a hugely important charity. As a teacher and a parent, I am acutely aware not only of the prevalence of both bullying and abuse but its appalling impact.
Where did the Stormrunning idea come from?
Way back in 2013 I decided I would compete in a large number of long distance races in fancy dress. I asked my son Jack for his thoughts on a possible costume. It was his obsession with Star Wars which resulted in me clattering all around the country dressed as a Stormtrooper.
His enthusiasm has been so great that in fact Jack joined the challenge himself. He took part in the Great South Mini Run in Portsmouth, which is a 1.5km course for children aged 3-8. I was delighted that we were able to run together in full costume. I, of course, appeared as an Imperial Stormtrooper as usual, but was joined by none other than Darth Vader himself! I was extremely proud of the effort he made and of his achievement.
How have you been raising money?
As well as collecting sponsorships for taking part in several long distance runs across the country I have also been taking part in many running related publicity events at supermarkets, shopping centres, leisure centres and parks in various towns and cities. This has, for example, involved me running on a treadmill in full Stormtrooper costume whilst other people help collect donations, and afterwards offering the opportunity for children to have their photo taken with the Stormtrooper.
What is it like running in costume?
There have been some challenges associated with running long distance in costume such as restricted movement and vision, heat, remaining hydrated and of course the logistical issues such as using the toilet on race day! But through these challenges I just remember the reason I am doing it, which is because I am trying to raise as much money as possible for a hugely worthwhile charity.
What's next for Stormrunning?
I'm already entered for several races again in 2015, so there are plenty more opportunities for people to get their #selfiewithastormtrooper this year, and of course support Kidscape by donating to, or sponsoring the Stormrunning challenge. You can do this by simply texting STOR50 £5to 70070. (You can send other amounts by changing the £5 to anything you like - £10, £25 etc.) Otherwise you can donate by debit/credit card through the Stormrunning justgiving page.
Fundraise for us
If you have been inspired by the Stormrunning challenge and would like to organise your own fundraising initative to support Kidscape's work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 7730 3300.