A group of runners who will take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon later this year dressed as charity mascots have started specialist training for the event.
The runners have recruited a personal trainer to give them a tailored training programme that will get them in the best shape for running the race while wearing costumes that can add up to 5kg in weight.
Mascots that will participate in the race – taking place on 10 October – include Chester the Squirrel (representing the Royal Parks Foundation), Stamford the Lion (Chelsea FC, Help a London Child and Right to Play) and Puff the Magic Dragon (Asthma UK). A stork will also be running for Unicef and a stressball will raise money for Mind.
The personal trainer has advised the mascots to train with weighted backpacks or with ankle weights in order to get used to running with the extra burden of the costume.
Other tips passed on by the trainer include training while wearing a black bin-liner over the upper body in order to get used to a higher body temperature while running, and carrying a "camel pack" during the race to provide constant access to liquids.
The Royal Parks Half Marathon goes through Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens