Injured army captain Chris Collier will run this year’s Virgin London Marathon in full riot gear in attempt to achieve a new Guiness World Record.
The 36-year-old will run the marathon in 18kg (44lbs) equipment despite breaking his shoulder in January.
The full riot gear consists of a helmet, visor, combat body armour, leg and arm guards, fireproof underlayer, military boots, riot shield and baton, and current world record for running a marathon in full riot gear stands at 4 hours 59 minutes.
Mr Collier, who is originally from Sunderland but lives in North Yorkshire, will run the marathon on April 24 to raise funds for Coeliac UK, the national charity for people with coeliac disease, as his six year old daughter, Abigail, has the condition.
He said: “I am running the London Marathon this year to raise awareness and to raise funds for Coeliac UK, because it is only by supporting charities like this that my daughter and others with coeliac disease will ever stand a chance of living a normal life.
“This is my fourth consecutive London Marathon, but the first time wearing anything other than traditional running kit.
“Despite me recently breaking my shoulder in a skiing accident, training is going fairly well. My target is to complete the Marathon in less than five hours and take the new Guinness World Record for running a marathon in full riot gear.”
Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten. There is no cure or medication for the condition; the only treatment is a lifelong, strict gluten-free diet.
If someone with coeliac disease does not stick to a gluten-free diet, the disease can lead to other conditions such as malnutrition, osteoporosis and small bowel cancer.
Mr Collier added: “I have raised over £600 to date and initially hope to reach £2,000 come the big day. However, I would be delighted if I make well over my target.
“I am very happy to do my bit to raise awareness of coeliac disease by running the London Marathon and it’s great that Coeliac UK will be there cheering for us on the day. If it means that just one more person thinks that it’s worth getting tested as a result then that would be fantastic!”
As many as 1 in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease but only 24 per cent have been diagnosed.
There are an estimated half a million people in the UK who have the condition but do not know it yet, and this is something the charity is trying to tackle with their ‘Is it coeliac disease?’ campaign.
To sponsor Mr Collier, click here.