For most of us running a marathon is a gladiatorial task in itself, however one athlete is taking it to the next level. Michael Golding, who lives at Rockfield, near Portmahomack, plans to run October's Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon wearing gladiator armour that he has designed and constructed himself.
The armour, which has been formed, sawed, and welded to fit the shape of Michael's body, originally consisted of a 2m x 1m sheet of metal. Using templates from items of clothing, the material for the upper body has been formed by welding together the chest and back plate into one piece. The metal for the kilt has been pierced with a series of holes and uses a leather belt to hold it together.
A design graduate from Coventry University, Michael has put countless hours into both the preparation and practice of his creation. Michael told the scottishrunnningguide.com: "I've been out for a few test runs to make sure it will be ok. Training wise I have been working on a combination of long distance, sprints, and weighted work."
In preparation for what is his first marathon, Michael has been wearing a 25lb jacket for the weighted part of his training. The undulating terrain of the marathon means he has been wearing it while hill running to ensure his body can cope with the added physical exertion of his metal costume.
Michael will be running the Loch Ness Marathon, which takes place on October 2, to raise funds for Alzheimer's Scotland: Action on Dementia. He will be running in memory of his grandfather, who he lost to Alzheimer's related health issues this Easter. On his decision to run for Alzheimer's Scotland, Michael commented: "I have seen the drastic effects and difficulties caused by this disease and can truly empathise with the problems people experience."
If you want to help Michael in his battle to fundraise for Alzheimer Scotland, you can visit his justgiving page. Alternatively, if you fancy taking part in the Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon (costumed or not), more information is available at the event website.