Ben af Forselles

Ben's Viking Challenge

Fundraising for The Aspinall Foundation
raised of £250 target
by 20 supporters
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Event: Virgin London Marathon 2011, on 17 April 2011
We return rare species back to the wild to provide a future for endangered animals


Welcome to my next world record attempt.  Updates at end!!

First there was the Leprechaun.  He amazed the world with his speed and his grace at the London Marathon in 2010 and ran his way into the record books (page 247 of the 2011 Guinness Book of World Records, to be specific). 

Now there is the Viking.  Yes, I'm going for another official world record for the Fastest Marathon Dressed as a Viking.  And I'm doing it at the London Marathon on 17th April, which is my birthday!

"But why?" I hear you ask.  Why take on the amassed hordes of rampaging Vikings to be the fastest of them all? Why expose myself to ridicule from "normal" people?

It's partly because I think it's pretty cool to try to bag a second official world record.  But also because my silly little escapade could help feed a bunch of hungry animals at Port Lympne and Howletts wild animal parks in Kent (as well as all their good conservation work, saving gorillas etc in Africa).  See link on left for more details about them.

This is where I need all the help I can get from you.  I have left myself just over a week to raise as much money I can for the charity.  If I get to £250, then AXA will match it.  I'd be very grateful for any help you can give to get me there.  Top 3 donors will get a signed photo of The Viking.  Just joking: I don't want to scare anyone off!

Thanks for your help and look out for updates on whether I got that elusive second world record...

Ben The Viking

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Update 1: 14th April

To reward everyone's generosity, I thought I should provide a few brief updates on my progress towards the World Record as well as news after the Big Day on how it all went.  I believe some folk call it a "blog" and provide such updates via Facebook and twitter.  I'm on neither so this is a rare remote glimpse into my world! 

The training is now all done.  I've not had a problem free training season: I "lost" February (only 4 training runs of poor quality) to a persistent cough and sore ribs (from coughing!), I haven't run any spring races or enough really long runs (only lots of "short" 10-14 milers) and am carrying a couple of niggles (R achilles and L knee).  Despite this I am feeling quietly confident of a world record on Sunday.  I did rack up some good mileage (ave 40-50 miles per week) and speeds in Jan and March.  I guess the fact that unlike last year's Leprechaun frenzy (5 on the day), I am the only Viking going for a record.  I shall aim to do the Northern Tribes proud and push the pace anyway.  My aim is to go under 3.15.  This is the time to beat to get a "good for age" automatic entry into the next year's race. 

Update 2, 18 April: Yehaa, another world record in the bag and no one broke my Leprechaun record, so I am now an official double world record holder.  Well, I think it´s pretty cool, even if I´m in the minority...So race report: the day was warmer than I´d hoped, but I doused myself with water way before I felt vaguely warm.  This preemptive cooling kept me from overheating despite a very warm Viking helmet.  I didn´t rein myself in for the first 10 miles and let myself cruise along at 3 hr pace.  The cunning plan was to "bank" time while the going was good (despite knowing an even pace is the most efficient).  First half in 1.31.  I then naturally started to slow down towards the end but kept roaring at the crowds in Viking character.  While it took some energy and made me hoarse by the end, it seemed to work as the crowd reaction was good and loud.  By 23 miles when I passed Kerry, Tara and Finn I knew I had enough time banked and enough "gas in the tank", despite slipping to an 8 minute mile pace.  I eased back and enjoyed the run-in, even managing a show-off 50m sprint to the line. After the Guinness people had certified me (in more ways than 1 some might suggest), I gave Kerry a sweaty hug and headed home.  3.12 and another world record.  A pretty good way to spend your birthday.  No lasting damage except a slightly sore L knee.  Now, what to wear next year?...Thank you to everyone who has kindly donated to my marathon effort.   And to anyone else, there´s still time to save endangered animals by donating.  And of course, if anyone wants a Viking photo signed by a world record holder, let me know!  I won´t hold my breath.  Over and out until next year.  Ben the Viking, double world record holder.

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