In the year 2019 a call came from Yearl James Mee, King of the RatRace for 40 viking warriors and shield maidens to assemble, their mission to raise hell at York Marathon (and a few quid for charity too) So began the epic journey of The record breaking Marathon Marauders! And our very own Andrew 'Bolly' Palmer was part of the action.

Having a big beard and a strong desire to dress up like a Viking, this were my only reasons for signing up to this challenge. I had chosen to ignore the marathon bit, knowing that 26.2 miles is a very, very long way especially in fancy dress carrying a boat. Factor in the zero training I had done and you get my over excitedness!

All good vikings need an axe!

Jim Mee had a vision of breaking the Guinness book of records mass fancy dress marathon record, the current record is 8hrs 30mins! There are many rules for this challenge but the main one is you need to stay in costume the whole race! No removing anything, so when my pleather costume arrived I thought this is going to be a warm sweaty day! No helmet or weapons for me! Then there’s The Berserker Spike Neal he was so excited he ordered himself a 2mm steel plate replica helmet and chain mail.

Lots of work went into our long boat “The Million Squid” showing the RatRace crew build skills. At over 25m long she needed pivot points building in for tight corners of which there were quite a few! Practise runs were organised and tweaks to the ship were made, then the day came when the Viking hordes would descended on York (again).

The forecast was almost perfect, cloudy and about 10 degrees, we had 5 awesome out runners alongside who would be able to pillage cash from the crowds and keep the boat crew fed watered and medicated. One of the record rules is once you’re in the boat you have to stay in for the entire record attempt, plus move backwards at the loo stops.

The crowds were amazing big cheers and lots of cash going into our buckets, we quickly got into a rhythm and the Viking shouting and banter began! When we overtook the 6 mile pacers we got a bit cocky but mass loo breaks and sharp bends meant they soon overtook us again!

As the race progressed we kept a steady pace, our awesome out runners kept us going and made mini repairs on route. The York Marathon is a rural one and takes in some nice countryside. It also goes through the city past the Minster and wiggly streets, all of which we smashed, no need to pivot!

As we headed back towards York the realisation started to set in, we were heading for a comfortable 6hr 30 marathon and smashing the previous record! Spirits ran high... the occasional rum was also passed down the boat! Skol! As the rain poured down “The Million Squid” went for a fast finish! The roars from the boat, the cheers from the crowd as we crossed the line were epic, we had done it!!

On top of a fantastic day out, getting to be a noisy Viking, being in a crew of fab people and breaking a world record, we also have raised almost £15,000 for Children with Cancer (Rat Races chosen charity)

Now Yearl Jim Mee has plans to launch the ship and raid at other marathons around the world. You can be part of the crew and join this Viking odyssey just visit to find out more.

Vi løper til Valhalla!!!

Photos by James Appleton


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