RNLI crew member takes on London Marathon in full lifeboat kit
Running a marathon is challenging enough, but one Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer crew member is going the extra mile by hitting the streets of London in his full lifeboat kit.
Allan Parker, a volunteer at Clacton-on-Sea Lifeboat Station, will be taking on the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon wearing his helmet, jacket and salopettes – kit perfectly designed for saving lives at sea rather than running.
Allan said: ‘It’s not exactly your usual running kit – it’s great if you’re on a lifeboat, but not running a marathon. It’s going to be hot and tough going in all that gear, and I had to draw the line at the wellies for the sake of my feet.’
This isn’t Allan’s first marathon, having also laced up to raise funds for the RNLI in last year’s London Marathon, and the New York Marathon in aid of a children’s cancer charity, but it will be his first time running in lifeboat kit in aid of the RNLI.
Despite struggling with a knee injury earlier this year, his training has gone well and the volunteer lifesaver is aiming to complete the race in under five hours – beating his previous time despite the extra equipment.
He said: ‘I hope the slightly ridiculous running kit will make people take notice, raise awareness of the work the RNLI does, and attract some more donations.
‘I’m running on Sunday because too many people are still drowning off the coast of the UK and Ireland and, more than ever, we need the RNLI. As a charity, we depend on donations so we can go on saving lives and keeping us and our loved ones safe.’
Allan has been a volunteer at Clacton-on-Sea for five years – a childhood dream-come-true for the police officer – in which time the crew has saved 12 lives.
RNLI Fundraising Director Jayne George said: ‘Allan is a great example of how far our crews are willing to go to support us.
‘Running a marathon fully kitted out is very brave and a significant challenge, and we will all be rooting for him.
‘The London Marathon is an iconic event, and I would like to thank all of our runners for their efforts to raise funds and engage the public in our mission.
‘The RNLI is proud of its long heritage and tradition of voluntary fundraising, and it is only thanks to thousands of people like Allan, willing to go out of their way to raise funds, that we can continue to save lives at sea.’
The RNLI Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used on the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats, and which will be worn by Allan during his marathon challenge is Gecko safety helmet, Helly Hansen waterproof salopettes and jacket. Allan has had to forego wearing a lifejacket as they are needed at the station in case his fellow crew members are called out while he is running to save lives.
To support Allan in his challenge, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/al-parker1
Other RNLI crew running the marathon include Tony Rendle, RNLI mechanic and crew member at Penlee Lifeboat Station, who has been training on a treadmill with his pager in earshot for his first full marathon, and Siobhan Watson, a crew member at Conwy who has been very active with both her training and fundraising.
Also hitting the streets of London for the charity that saves lives at sea include artist Angel Zatorski, who was inspired to raise funds for the lifesaving organisation after her husband was saved from the sea 12 years ago when she was pregnant with the couple’s daughter, and Claire Montgomery whose friend’s husband – son of renowned Dutch sailor Conny van Rietschoten – was saved from drowning after a sailing accident in the Solent.
Three runners will also be lacing up for Appledore Lifeboat Station on Sunday: crew member Matt Rowe, and fundraisers Karen Bowes and Chris Broad. Between them, they have already raised over £5,000 to help the RNLI save more lives at sea.
To donate to the RNLI’s lifesaving work go to GoDonate.org/RNLI
Notes to editors
- A high-resolution image of Allan in his lifesaving kit is available to download here
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.
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