Soldiers completed one the ‘toughest challenges they have ever done’ at Rutland Water yesterday (December 6).
Thirty-six troops from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, which moved to Kendrew Barracks from Cyprus in the summer, ran and walked almost 19 miles around the reservoir - carrying 15kg of kit.
The brave soldiers decided to complete the ‘loaded march’ in teams to engage with the community and raise cash for SSAFA - the Armed Forces Charity, which supports serving troops and veterans of the Army.
Although troops, who completed the arduous slog proudly wearing red SSAFA t-shirts under their uniforms, had completed loaded marches in the past - most had most had not done one longer than 8 miles.
Corporal Sarah Hamer, of the regiment, said:“This is the toughest thing some of them have ever done.
“Some of them have come straight from training or straight from Cyprus.
“This challenge is out of their comfort zone, for them to train in this weather is strange.”
Troops treated the challenge as a competition with the winning team completing it in four hours and seven minutes.
Lance Corporal Oliver Whiteman, who was part of the team which emerged victorious, said afterwards: “They can hold their heads high within the company - they have come in with a decent time.
“My legs are cramping and aching. We did the first eight miles in an hour-and-a-half - we flew a little bit. From 12 miles to the finish line is when the cramp started to set in.
“Some of these blokes have never seen the water before. We have seen some local people on the way around.
“It is good to get out and about and do something for charity.”
Although the troops were being pushed to the limit, many completed the Army’s annual fitness test recently - which is an eight-mile loaded march carrying 20kg of kit - which helped them prepare.
The arduous challenge was completed at Rutland Water as the troops, who are part of the Regiment’s C Company, wanted to engage with the local community having just completed their move from abroad.
SSAFA is also a charity which is very dear to their heart as it allows them to support their fellow servicemen and women.
“It is a good charity to raise money for and it is quite relative to the job,” Corporal Hamer said.
“It is a great way for them to work together and in extreme conditions. It also acted as a training exercise designed to get them used to the British weather.
“SSAFA is a good charity to raise money for and it is quite relative to the job.
“It gives them a bit of a feel for where they live and work and lets people know in the area we are there.”
The troops completed the challenge in six teams made up of six soldiers.
The start and finish point of the loaded march was Normanton car park.
Troops are aiming to raise £2,500 for the charity..
If you would like to make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chris-boult1