FORGET the running top, shorts and cap - Richard Bird is tackling his first competitive run in full medieval armour to raise funds for Autism Victoria.
The Ferntree Gully resident has decided to raise money for charity by donning traditional 14th century medieval gear for a 5.7-kilometre run.
He's chosen to tackle the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival and he'll be running while wearing 20 kilograms of armour.
Mr Bird is a member of an eastern suburbs medieval swordfighting club that takes part in full combat for public exhibitions and their own fun.
After he climbed the Lyrebird Track in Upper Ferntree Gully in armour last year to raise money for the club, Mr Bird asked himself, "What's the next big challenge?".
"I really wanted to support a cause and the man who owns the factory where our swordfighting club trains has a granddaughter with autism, and I thought that was the perfect sentiment."
Mr Bird will run in the same outfit he usually competes in to sword fight, and it's mixture of items he has made himself and picked up online.
Despite working as a manager in a sports store, Mr Bird has had to step up his training to be ready for the October 14 event. "I've been doing a lot of running, weightlifting, and running with a weighted vest every second day."
Mr Bird trains around the hills area and says he often gets some "interesting looks". "The kids love it. And I am always happy to explain what I'm doing and take some pictures," he said.
Mr Bird, who hopes to raise $5000 for Autism Victoria, is being supported by local businesses, including Hoops Bar and Grill in Boronia. "People think I'm insane and my family know that I'm mad, but I've had so much support."
Anyone wishing to register to run in the Melbourne Marathon can visit melbournemarathon.com.au before July 29 to take advantage of the early bird fee. To support Mr Bird's run, go to everydayhero.com.au/medieval-challenge.