Army vet to run Edinburgh Marathon in armour suit

Jay Watt gets used to his outfit at Murrayfield. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Jay Watt gets used to his outfit at Murrayfield. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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HE’S a madcap marathon ­aficionado who lumbers around 26-mile courses in bulky fancy dress costumes ranging from full military garb to an ill-­fitting animal suit. But now brave runner Jay Watt, 36, is limbering up for his greatest endurance test yet – by taking on the Edinburgh distance event dressed in a medieval suit of armour.

The army veteran – who has toured Afghanistan and Iraq with the Parachute ­Regiment – is hanging up his wings to be the White Knight for a ­children’s charity close to his powerful heart.

The father-of-two is donating all cash raised from his epic challenge to Action Group on Albion Road which provides support to people with learning disabilities and has helped Mr Watt’s nine-year-old son cope with attention deficit disorder.

Weighing 28.5 kilos, the imitation armour suit – which includes chain mail and a heavy helmet – provides ­little ventilation and he will also don a lycra bodysuit to ­offset nips and bruising from the clunky metal shell.

It is understood this is the first attempt to run the Edinburgh race in an armoured suit.

To compound the discomfort, he will pound the pavements wearing his stamina-sapping army desert boots.

To whip up publicity for his fundraising efforts, Mr Watt, from Liberton, has performed laps of honour at Ibrox and Easter Road and last night he was part of the half-time entertainment at Murrayfield for Edinburgh Rugby’s last game of the ­season.

Mr Watt, who is looking forward to the tortuous ordeal, said: “This will definitely be the toughest marathon so far. I did about 25 laps of Ibrox in the knight’s suit – about six miles – and there was a lot of sore bits in my legs and hips.

“I know the marathon is going to hurt but that will lead people to giving you a couple of pounds’ sponsorship. You have to stand out to get some attention and raise more money.”

Last year, Mr Watt – a clinical support worker at the ERI – completed the course in little over six hours wearing a giant bear costume. But even that soft lining was agony after hours on the road.

He said: “After a while your body becomes numb, but I lost the skin off my shin and forearms through friction.

Mr Watt forked out £500 on the armour after bartering with a seller who originally wanted £1000. He hopes to complete the race in around six hours.

Andy Foreman, the development manager at Action Group, said: “Jay has called himself the knight runner.

“His son receives a service from Action Group and as a way of saying thank you he decided to run for us. He hopes to raise £1000 and we are delighted by his support.”

Neil Kilgour, Edinburgh Marathon Festival director, said: “We wish Jay well and hope he will be able to ­complete the race.”

Fundraising spirit

SUPERMAN Jay Watt will be hoping he is not the last runner to cross the line at the Edinburgh Marathon as he attempts to complete the course weighed down by 28.5 kilos of metal.

As others don light fancy dress and mascot outfits for the arduous 26-mile trek, the father-of-two will be at a considerable disadvantage compared with his rival ­­fun runners.

He aims to complete the route in little over six hours but will no doubt be satisfied just to finish. The world record for the slowest marathon time ever – six days and six hours – was set by former professional goalkeeper and extreme charity fundraiser Lloyd Scott, who ran the London Marathon in 2002 dressed in a 59kg diving suit.