Marathon runner Dan suits up for charity challenge

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AS a bomb disposal expert, Corporal Dan Skelly is used to working against the clock.

But as if his job was not challenging enough the Edinburgh-based soldier has now decided to set a new world record.

Dan, 28, will try to break the record for running a marathon in full bomb disposal gear.

He will wear a Mark 4 EOD suit which weighs 25kg (55lbs) and consists of Kevlar trousers, jacket, and apron, along with a chest plate and helmet, on the 26-mile trek in May.

He said: "It was when I was doing my bomb disposal trade training that one of the soldiers on the course said that I was the kind of guy who could do a marathon in a bomb suit.

"It got me thinking - it sounded like a challenge and a great idea."

Dan, who is based in Craigiehall, added: "After a bit of research, I found out that there was a world record at stake for the fastest marathon in a bomb disposal suit, which is currently 12 hours for the 26-mile course."

Dan, who said he was "fairly confident" about setting a new world record and hopes to complete the marathon in just six and a half hours, added: "I've been training on the treadmill in the gym with the full suit on over the last couple of weeks and it's really started to dawn on me quite how daunting it's going to be.

"The heat that builds up inside the suit really slows you down and the helmet is a big strain on your neck, but I think my body is slowly adjusting.

"I can't wander around in a bomb suit outside because it might cause a bit of panic. I get a few odd looks in the gym."

He hopes to raise 5000 for the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) by taking part in the Halstead and Essex Marathon in May.

He is currently an Ammunition Technician serving with Edinburgh Troop, 521 Squadron of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment (Royal Logistics Corps).

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Bex, said: "This is a truly remarkable challenge Cpl Skelly has set himself.

"A modern bomb disposal suit is incredibly heavy and restricts movement due to its protective qualities.

"To attempt a marathon for charitable gain is admirable and I urge people to get behind him and offer their support."

He added: "Our vocation has been at the forefront of the battle against Taliban IEDs in Afghanistan and as a result we have suffered many fatalities and had soldiers come home seriously injured.

"These sorts of charitable organisations can make a huge difference to the lives of our servicemen, women and their families."

Dan, who is originally from Bedford in England and whose grandad lives in Mayfield, Midlothian, will run the marathon - which starts and finishes at Halstead Leisure Centre - on May 8.

Director of ABF Scotland, Major Roy Robertson, said: "Soldiers in Scotland just keep coming up with new ideas about how to raise money for ABF The Soldiers' Charity and this one is particularly novel.

"Lce Cpl Skelly can expect to be totally shattered by the time he finishes, to the grateful thanks of the ABF for fundraising.

"It's a super effort altogether to help soldiers and ex-soldiers, and their families in need."

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