Charity seeks volunteers to run Edinburgh Marathon carrying 85ft viking boat

The project will raise money for Children With Cancer UK.

Wednesday, 1st January 2020, 12:00 pm

Running the Edinburgh Marathon may seem like enough of a challenge for most of us.

But a charity raising money for children with cancer is searching for volunteers to complete the gruelling event while carrying an 85ft-long viking boat.

The replica viking longship, which weighs a quarter of a ton, will be carried by 40 participants round the 26.2 mile course.

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'The Million Squid' at York Marathon.

The ‘Rock the Boat’ project has been launched by events firm Rat Race Adventure Sports, with all proceeds going to partner charity Children With Cancer UK.

The project aims to raise £1 million through volunteers completing marathons while carrying the boat, named ‘The Million Squid’.

The vessel had its first outing at the York Marathon in October, where participants broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon run in a 40-person costume - getting round the course in a nifty six and a half hours.

In 2020 Rat Race will take the boat around marathons in Brighton, Milton Keynes and Liege, Belgium, as well as in Edinburgh.

'The Million Squid' at York Marathon.

Places are still available for the Edinburgh race on May 24.

Participants are asked to put down a £180 deposit and raise a total of £500.

The boat, made from a lightweight metal frame inside a plywood exterior, is carried by way of specially-made harnesses.

Participants are positioned close to each other within the frame, making it difficult to see the track beneath them.

Rat Race event co-organiser Allie Bailey said: “Running a marathon is tough enough, let alone when you’re carrying a boat weighing a quarter of a ton.

“And then there’s the problem of tackling tight turns in an 85ft-long vessel with a terrible turning circle, and coming across speedbumps and potholes in the road that you can’t actually see beneath you.

In addition to the 40 people harnessed to the boat, five ‘roving vikings’ will run alongside the structure, carrying buckets to collect donations from spectators, providing water and snacks to the runners, and taking over during toilet breaks.

All runners are encouraged to look as viking-like as possible, in their own fancy dress costumes.

Held every year since 2003, the Edinburgh Marathon course will start in Potterrow and finish at the Pinkie Playing Fields in Musselburgh.

Rat Race Adventure Sports, founded by Jim Mee in 2004, is one of the largest operators of mass-participation wilderness adventure events in the UK.

The company has already raised a total of £1 million for charity, and is now working towards the next million.

The money raised will go towards Children With Cancer UK, which provides care for children with cancer and funding for research.

Almost 4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK.

Those interested in taking part in the event can sign up via www.ratraceentries.com/rocktheboat.