A GROUP of 40 people hopes to achieve a world record-breaking run in the Yorkshire Marathon in and around York - dressed as an enormous Viking longship.

The stunt is being organised by Shipton-by-Beningbrough based events company Rat Race Adventure Sports, which hosts adventure races across the world.

The group hopes to set a new Guinness World Record for ‘fastest marathon in a 40-person costume’ in the process - with a time of 8.5 hours to beat.

Rat Race founder and stunt organiser Jim Mee ran the 26-mile Yorkshire Marathon course in a solo Viking ship costume as a tentative dry run in 2017.

Now he’s upping the ante - creating a specially-built 85ft long ‘vessel’, weighing around 250kg, which will be carried by the 40 brave competitors to the finish line.

Jim said: “I had enormous fun running the Yorkshire Marathon dressed in my Viking boat, complete with a huge mast and sails.

“And the feedback was so positive I thought, ‘let’s do the Viking ship thing again - but let’s make it much bigger this time!'”

The boat itself is being built by York craftsman Steve Popple and will feature a lightweight metal frame inside a plywood exterior.

Jim says the Viking boat will pose unique challenges to those taking part. He said: “It won’t be easy. Running a marathon is hard at the best of times, let alone when you’re shouldering an extra 5kg, per person, in the form of a massive boat.

“It can also be tricky to run at somebody else’s pace. After all, the boat can only go as fast as the slowest person in the group.

“So it’ll take a lot of teamwork and cooperation to make sure we get across the finish line - and hopefully there aren’t many sharp bends in the route, as we’ll have a fairly large turning circle!”

Jim and the Rat Race team hope to raise around £10,000 for their partner charity - Children With Cancer UK.

Meanwhile, he says the Yorkshire Marathon will represent the ‘maiden voyage’ for the ship they’ve dubbed ‘The Million Squid’, with other events to follow.

He added: “York is the first voyage for our mighty longship.

“And, all being well, she will look to be taking on lots more events next year - to continue our mission to raise money for charity.”

Jim set up Rat Race Adventure Sports in 2004 and has seen it grow into one of the UK’s largest operators of mass participation, wilderness adventure challenges.

One of their most famous UK-based races is the ‘Dirty Weekend’ - the world’s largest assault course and held annually at Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire.

Rat Race also hosts a string of events in some of the UK’s most picturesque wilderness areas, including Man vs Mountain in Snowdonia, Man vs Coast in Cornwall and Man vs Lakes in Cumbria.

Meanwhile the firm is also offering an increasing number of international experiences, which are garnering headlines across the globe.

The ‘Bucket List’ series of events features a 100-mile race across a frozen lake in northern Mongolia, a ‘coast to coast’ challenge in the jungles of Panama, and a desert ultra-marathon through Namibia and culminating at the country’s Skeleton Coast.

Jim said: “As a company, our ethos is one of teamwork, camaraderie, companionship - and most of all, fun.

“It’s often not about trying to beat everyone else in the field, it’s about testing yourself to the best of your abilities and forging close friendships along the way.

“On some of our tougher expeditions - particularly the recent Mongol 100 event in Mongolia - each and every participant was willed on to cross the finish line by everyone else in the group.

“And we want to take that mentality into the viking longship mission.

“It’s going to be a challenge, for sure, but we hope it’ll also put a smile on a lot of people’s faces, too.”