THE young man walking from Perth to Sydney dressed head to toe in a complete Stormtrooper costume is making a big impression on all he meets.
Jacob French, 21, from Busselton, WA had a hard time getting through the Narooma district over the weekend, not only but because of the hilly terrain but also because of all the attention from well-wishers and curious locals.
But that’s okay because his primary mission is to raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and he has already raised close to a phenomenal $90,000.
He has gone through seven pairs of shoes on his epic journey that began way back in July 2011.
But we know he is for real as a number of Narooma locals have spotted the walking Stormtrooper in their travels across this great land.
For instance, Ron and Tralee Snape last year spotted Jacob struggling across the Nullarbor Plain west of Ceduna in 40-degree heat with a headwind.
And the Nathan Hawker, 10, and his mum earlier this month spotted him on the way down to Melbourne and on the way back they spotted him again just south of Eden and were able to stop and have a chat.
While travelling through the Narooma district, the owners of the Cobargo Hotel kindly put him for the night, while the next night he simply camped with his swag at Corunna Lake.
Money is a big issue for Jacob, who is living simply so not to take away from the funding.
He said he came with the idea for the epic walk after visiting sick children in hospital through his involvement with the worldwide "501st Legion", a volunteer organisation that wears quality Star Wars outfits as a means to contribute to their local communities through charity work.
He is looking forward to getting back home to WA and is not sure what he is going to do but has an interest in going to university to study media or publicity.
Jacob hopes to arrive in Sydney in the next week or so...
Every epic journey starts with one step
In October 2010, Jacob participated in the RunMelb Half marathon (21kms) in his stormtrooper suit, however prior to this event had never run more than 10km.
The suit was restrictive and got quite hot while he was running, but the seed was planted for the Troopertrek idea.
In July 2011, Jacob French started his Troopertrek – a walk from Perth, WA to Sydney, NSW in stormtrooper armour made famous from the Star Wars films.
Jacob had always thought about walking around Australia but wanted to tie his quest in with a charity to help other people.
The Starlight Children’s Foundation was a natural fit as he had previously volunteered for the company and is a big believer in Starlight’s philosophy of bringing smiles, laughter and entertainment to sick and hospitalised children.
Over the course of his trek Jacob will cross 4 states and cover approximately 5000km's in modified stormtrooper armour. He is also travelling with a lightweight buggy with needed supplies which requires him to push the cart an average distance of 35-40km's for 5 days a week until the trek is complete.
Jacob sets himself a budget of just $50 a week which is to cover food, drinks, telephone credit, internet credit, etc. He is camping overnight in a tent on roadsides to conserve funds so that more money can go to charity.
Throughout his trek Jacob has received emails of support from Starlight children across the country telling him how inspired they are by his journey and how grateful they are that he is donating to Starlight. Other people are meeting him as he passes through towns on the road and are they are donating and getting photos with him on his journey.
During his time on the road he has reached a milestone and celebrated his 21st birthday. He has also endured 40 degree days, six weeks of rain and thunder and marginally missed being struck by lightning. He hasn’t seen his family or his girlfriend in months and his entire trek is self-funded.
He has raised well over $87,000 so far.
Welcome to Troopertrek 2011
Posted by Jacob French February 16, 2011
In 2011 I aim to walk from Perth to Sydney to raise awareness and money for the Starlight Foundation and because I believe I can do it in Stormtrooper armour. Follow and comment my progress on twitter or facebook by searching for "troopertrek"
Starting in July 2011 I aim to walk from Perth (Western Australia) to Sydney (New South Wales). Over the course of the trek I will cross 4 states and cover approximately 5000km's in modified stormtrooper armour. The plan for now is to push a lightweight buggy with needed supplies an average distance of 35-40km's for 5 days a week until the trek is complete.
I am a member of the worldwide "501st Legion", a volunteer organisation that wears quality star wars outfits for Star Wars related events and as a means to contribute to their local communities through charity work. My involvement with the 501st Legion has been a fantastic experience and I have had plenty of opportunities to put on my suit of armour and entertain the public.
In October 2010 I participated in the RunMelb Half marathon (21kms) in my stormtrooper suit. The suit was restrictive and got quite hot while I was running, but the seed was planted for the troopertrek idea. Since the marathon I have started to train regularly for this event and have acquired a much lighter and flexible set of armour that will be trimmed for better movement. I am hoping that by choosing to wear stormtrooper armour I will be able to gather more attention for the cause I am running for and have a bit of a laugh along the way. If there are any social events along the route that you think might benefit from having a stormtrooper attend, let me know!