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London marathon in ski boots
Monday April 25, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

36-year old Al Machell from Hertfordshire has done what no-one has done before - the marathon in a pair of ski boots.

Al drew the attention of the TV cameras and others as he completed the 26-mile course in a pair of 15-year old salomon boots and his ski racing cat suit.

It took him 8 hours and 1 minute to finish the route on Sunday and he is now applying for recognition in the Guiness Book of Records.

"I went round in a series of lunges at walking speed. And I feel surprisingly fine today, though I'm looking forward to seeing my girlfriend later as she is a physio and will help me with some muscle aches," he said to PlanetSKI on Monday.

"But, to be honest, my blisters are not too pretty today!"

Suited and bootedSuited and booted



















"After about 9 miles I had been passed by most of the runners but there were a good few people walking, but they had slightly more comfortable footwear than me."

Marathon manMarathon man




















He was cheered on and supported by friends along the route.

"I got a call from my friend Si at 18 miles when I was really in a bad place," commented Al.

He told me "pain is temporary, glory is eternal!" - sound cheesy written down but, mate, that sorted me til the end. Last, and by no means least, Liz and my beautiful babe met me at 22 miles and followed closely behind me til the - thank you so much ladies."

Cheering him onCheering him on













Made it Made it




















We tracked him down initially through Facebook and posted earlier on Monday about his achievement in this story on our rolling blog, Skiing Secrets.

It has had thousands of PlanetSKI readers see it and many have commented. 

They fall into two camps - people either think he is a nutter or a hero.

Having spoken at length to him, and heard his story, we are firmly in the latter camp.

Al in actionAl in action




















At 21-years old Al was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent 3 years of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment. 

He had the tumour removed in 2001.

He had been skiing since 6-years old and his mother was a ski instructor.

Al developed a passion in speed skiing and made the British Team, but in 2011 he had a crash at the World Cup in Verbier where he caught an edge and fell while going at over 100mph.

He suffered a dislocated shoulder and other injuries.

The following year he was diagnosed with a kidney problem that was thought to have been initiated by the drugs he took during chemotherapy.

He then had a kidney transplant operation on April 15th 2012 .

His racing career was over.

Hence why he is raising money for both The Brain Tumour Charity and the Kidney Patient Association.

He has almost reached his target for one but is short on the other.

The Brain Tumour Charity  - see here to donate.

The Royal Free Kidney Patient Association - see here to donate.

Over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page the ex-GB racer, Konrad Bartelski has read of his achievement at the London Marathon and has urged people who have shared, liked or commented to make a donation.

Here at PlanetSKI we have made a contribution and urge others to do the same by following the links above.

Al MachellAl Machell
















So, why did Al come up with the idea of doing the marathon in ski boots and how much training did he do?

"Funnily enough I was skiing in the Italian resort of Selva in the Dolomites this winter and there is an awful lot of walking to get to the lifts. I didn't really mind it and the idea of doing the marathon in ski boots just popped into my head."

"I went out and bought a treadmill on e-Bay and did 10km without too much trouble so I decided to go for it."

"My training consisted of many lunges and squats and on the day that seemed enough."

"Funnily enough I looked at getting special boots or touring boots but in the end I went with my old salomon boots that I bought around 15-years ago from Snow+Rock, simply because they are comfortable."

"It was the best decision I made and though I have a few blisters they were brilliant."

So, will he be doing a similar event again?

"Ask me that tomorrow, but the boots are in good shape and so am I. There must be a few other walking challenges I can do in a pair of ski boots!"





















And if you want to contribute then here are the links again:

The Brain Tumour Charity  - see here to donate.

The Royal Free Kidney Patient Association - see here to donate.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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