Richard Clarke reports:
On Sunday, 19 May I competed in my second Paras’ 10 P Company Challenge. This is a ‘tab’ (march across hills with full kit at a fast pace – strictly also with weapon) over 10 miles of road, track and trail. There are also a few small water features to slow you down. The rules are that you carry a bergen (rucksack) with a minimum weight of 35lb (weighed at the start and finish!) and wear boots and trousers.
The challenge is based on one of the elements of the Parachute Regiment selection process in which candidates have to complete the course in under 1:50. The event is run on military land over the same, or similar, course to the real selection process and raises money for the Parachute Regiment charity.
I ran the event at Colchester. The weather was hot, making it a glorious day for spectators and for competitors to relax before and recover after! Actually, it was not too bad to run in – with just enough shade and breeze on the course.
The race started on a large field in the grounds of Colchester garrison and wound through the roads in the camp, before heading into the neighbouring woods and grass land. The attached picture is taken at about 4 miles having just waded through a narrow water course and emerged into a marsh where smoke canisters had been released. This is not typical of the course, but can make for some good pictures. The tab ends by returning into camp and crossing the field to the finish.
With a correctly packed bergen, and a reasonable level of fitness (it’s not that long since London), I found that it wasn’t difficult to keep up a reasonable, steady pace pretty much throughout. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay enough attention to my watch and just missed out on the target time by an agonising 16 seconds!!! So frustrating, but gives me a reason to do it all again at Catterick in August!