Exmoor Hosts Ultimate Endurance Challenge For A Good Cause
Posted Sep 15 2010 4:21am
On Saturday 9 October, The Royal British Legion is challenging super-fit people to race across 30 miles of moor land carrying a 30lb (13.6kg) rucksack. The Exmoor 30:30 challenge will see teams of five tackle the tough terrain and unsettled weather conditions of Exmoor National Park carrying the equivalent of a three-year-old child each.
With an entry fee of £50 per person, all team members are asked to raise at least £1,000 for charity. The Legion, which provides financial, practical and emotional support to service people past and present and their dependants, is recruiting everyone from office workers to armed forces personnel to take part in the challenge.
The course is a circular route around Exmoor with 10 manned checkpoints. Teams should be able to navigate through darkness, mist or even the ‘pea soup’ fog that often envelops the moors. The ground will be rough at times, so contestants must be fit enough to last the distance.
The Exmoor Explorers, who competed on behalf of The Legion, won the inaugural event last year with very limited training. Team member Peter Govier described the nine hours it took them to complete the route as like “going to hell and back”.
“It was tough, mentally and physically,” says Peter. “We were all fairly fit and knew the area, but the weather was atrocious. The race may be called Exmoor 30:30, but due to circumstances you inevitably end up going further. The Explorers ended up doing 36 miles.”
Peter says teamwork was key. Race organisers state that the total combined< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> weight carried by each team must be at least 150lbs (68kg). The Explorers regularly assessed their team, redistributing their loads when necessary and giving encouragement to one another when needed.
“Our main rival was a team from Norway. We found out afterwards that they had recently been very successful in a similar event. They set off before us and were seriously good but we just kept on their tail and never let up.”
Peter admits it is hard for the team to fit training in around their busy lives, but the Explorers are determined to defend their title. The team expects the competition to be even tougher this year, so preparations are seriously underway.
Russell Thompson OBE, Director of National Events and Fundraising says: “Exmoor 30:30 really is the ultimate challenge and will give civilian participants a taste for the sort of training armed services personnel go through before being sent off to Afghanistan and Iraq. Last year’s entrants put in a sterling effort, so we hope even more teams sign up this year to help us raise funds for the 9.5 million people in the UK who are eligible for help from The Legion.”
Top tips for surviving Exmoor 30:30
from 2009 RBL winners ‘The Exmoor Explorers’
It goes without saying you’ll need to be fit, but previous experience of cross-country running will help
Injuries can scupper your race before it even begins, so training for such an extreme event should be done gradually
Start building up your fitness with two runs of around five miles a week, spaced a few days apart
Once you’ve got used to the distance, increase the runs to around 10 miles while carrying a small ruscksack
Steadily increase the weight of the rucksack and try doing training runs on consecutive days. This will help improve your body’s recovery rate
Your calves will take a hammering, so find a decent training hill. Practice walking up it and running down it, building up the weight in your rucksack slowly
As race day approaches, train with the full weight on the flat and on hills
Mental strength is as important as physical strength and a tightly-knit team will help each other out when things get tough
Your body will need a lot of calories so your bag will need to be full of energy drinks like Lucozade, water and high-energy bars
Get your pack organised before you set out. Spare socks and torches are no use at the bottom of your bag
About the Legion:
The Royal British Legion is the nation’s leading Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is also the national Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal and its emblem, the red poppy. www.britishlegion.org.uk
About Exmoor 30:30: Start/finish and race control is at the Memorial Hall, Exford, Somerset, TA24 7PP. Teams must register at race control between 18:00-22:00 Friday 8 October 2010.
The other charities benefiting from Exmoor 30:30 are: