Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stormtrooper Walks 3,000 Miles Over 9 Months for Charity

By: Dave Bouressa

Well, ladies and gentlemen, he’s done it.

Starting back in July of 2011, Jacob French has taken the past 9 months walking 3,000 miles across Australia from Perth to Sydney for charity-dressed as a storm trooper.

Jacob, who has just finished the incredible march, walked for more than 10 hours a day, Monday to Friday, losing more than 12kg (26.4 lbs) in weight and going through seven pairs of shoes.

Along the way, he pushed a 50kg (110 lbs) buggy containing his supplies while always wearing his elite soldier, white battle armor.
The crusader told Australian newspaper Magnet: “I hate walking. I do anything to get out of it usually, but I was the one with the idea. It gets pretty hot - the helmet is like wearing a bucket on your head.”
Jacob has received massive support throughout his incredible trek. Supporters have been cheering Jacob on by hooting their horns and getting their photos taken with him. Others have been posting messages on his Troopertrek Facebook page, which has received thousands of 'likes'.

Bianca Rowlands wrote: “We were lucky enough to spot you on Friday just south of Nowra. You are truly an amazing man. Congrats on your unreal achievement.”

And Glenn Fenwick wrote: “What a herculean effort Jacob! Enjoy your rest.”

After crossing the finish line on April 4, Jacob had one more mission to complete.

He stopped off at Sydney Children's Hospital where he was met with a hero's welcome before chatting with some of the children as he entertained patients with his costume and tales of his incredible voyage. The trooper raised more than £62,000 ($98,616 USD) during the nine month journey for charity, Starlight Children's Foundation, which helps sick children in hospitals across Australia.

In October 2010, he took part in the RunMelb Half marathon in his stormtrooper suit.

He said: “The suit was restrictive and got quite hot while I was running, but the seed was planted for the “trooper-trek” idea.”

After the marathon he trained regularly for his stint across Australia and modified his suit so it was much lighter and flexible.

Jacob is a member of the worldwide 501st Legion, a volunteer organization consisting of men and women from all over the world dressing as Star Wars characters (primarily storm troopers and clone troopers) for charities and fundraiser events. Jacob said: “My involvement with the 501st Legion has been a fantastic experience and I have had plenty of opportunities to put on my suit of armor and entertain the public”.

One can only assume that achieving such a monumental feat has made his brothers and sisters in the 501st proud. The force is truly with Jacob French.


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