Modern-day Vikings plundering and pillaging on streets of Gainsborough

The runners, dressed as a Viking longboat, take to the streets of Gainsborough as part of their final warm-up for the world-record attempt.
The runners, dressed as a Viking longboat, take to the streets of Gainsborough as part of their final warm-up for the world-record attempt.
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Shoppers were taken aback to see a Viking longboat marauding through the streets of Gainsborough, plundering and pillaging residents’ money.

But the stunt was all in a good cause because inside the boat were four runners warming up for a world-record marathon attempt to boost two charities.

The Gainsborough quartet, Martin Ward, Nigel Burton, Steve Tait and Chris Gale, are aiming to become the fastest team to complete the Edinburgh Marathon, which is on Sunday, May 28, in a four-person costume.

Complete with “real beards, shields and lots of Viking snarling”, they hope to raise £10,000 through donations and sponsorship for Lincolnshire LIVES, the charity that recruits volunteers to respond to 999 emergencies across the county, and also the Epilepsy Society.

And so they linked up with members of the LIVES team in a Saturday morning appearance in the town centre to promote their record bid, collect some cash and get in some much-needed running practice in the boat.

“We had a great time and raised more than £320, which put our total at just over £8,000,” said Martin. “Marshall’s Yard was kind enough to allow LIVES to set up a stand demonstrating CPR, and also to run a tombola.

“The Vikings appeared in their full attire and we had a final dress rehearsal for Edinburgh, completing a nine-mile run around the streets of Gainsborough.

“If you were on Marshall’s Yard and you didn’t see us, you would have heard us coming, armed with our Viking horns of Valhalla!”

The record the quartet are trying to beat is five hours, 25 minutes. They have put in lots of training, but only Steve has tackled a marathon before, and they have a collective age of 197. You can make a donation by visiting their JustGiving page online.