Readers, the inspiration for today's post comes from a man named Jez Allinson.
Mr. Allinson, a father of two from a small English village, is a runner and a big Star Wars fan. He has a habit of running marathons while dressed as a Stormtrooper, and recently announced his plan to run 40 miles in May—again, in full Stormtrooper gear—to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation. (If you like, you can make a donation here.)
He also used the word chuffed in a recent comment on his fundraising page:
Thanks to everyone for their support so far, I'm so chuffed with the positivity out there!
Which I approve of.
As Mr. Allinson himself admits, running a marathon dressed as a Stormtrooper is "quite the challenge," particularly when it's hot. If you're considering a similar feat, then, we offer the following race-day tips.
1. Be Mindful of Walkers
You don't want to wind up crushed to death en route to a PR.
2. Leave Your Pets at Home
Dewbacks are not allowed in most races.
3. Be Extra-Aware of Your Surroundings
Remember: You can't see a thing in that helmet!
4. Forget Trying to Aim
At aid stations, don't even bother trying to toss your used cup into a trash can, even if it's an easy shot. You'll miss every time.
5. You Don't Need to See Anyone's Identification
That's the job of the volunteers at packet pickup. Move along.
6. Seek Out the Race Staff and Praise Them for Using the Imperial System to Measure the Course
Or, if you're racing in a country that uses the metric system, urge them to adopt the Imperial system for next year. Either way, repeat the word Imperial afterward, pause, and then ask them if they "get it." If they don't, move along.
7. Keep Your Bib Number Clearly Visible
Without it, you will be indistinguishable in race photos from every other Stormtrooper in the event.
8. Don't Expect Your Armor to Protect You
While those white plastic plates provide some protection, they will not stop a direct blaster hit. Or calf cramps.
9. Memorize Your Lines
Be ready with the appropriate phrase for a variety of scenarios. For instance...
When you quickly close the door of a porta-potty upon realizing it's occupied: "Someone was in the pod."
When the race director makes an announcement that you can't hear:
When your pace group leader suggests stopping for a bathroom break: “Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?"
And yes, we know that line is from Grand Moff Tarkin, not a Stormtrooper. It doesn't matter. Move along.