The teams did extremely well with seven teams completing the challenge and even though one team had to cut the challenge short due to an ankle injury part way through day two, all eight teams crossed the finish line to well deserved applause and cheers from the assembled crowd.
Teams of four compete in a thirty mile race across Dartmoor over two days carrying a ShelterBox and all the kit needed to survive two days on the moors. The terrain varies from roads to bogs and various tasks have to be completed at each checkpoint.
With Nik Green having to drop out of the challenge due to tearing a muscle in his back in the week leading up to the event, some last minute (literally) team restructuring saw Ian Thomas joining Rob Green and Martin Crump in one of two three person teams (who still had to carry four people’s gear!).
The first day was tough with an extremely difficult section at the end of the day across pathless moorland with a mix of bog and elephant grass which dramatically slowed the teams down. The result of this was that five of the thirty four teams were still walking as darkness descended but everyone made it to the campsite where we put up our tents, cooked some food and most of us were fast asleep by 9pm.
Sunday morning saw a number of blistered feet being treated and after breakfast all the teams set out for the second, shorter part of the Challenge.
After a climb back on to the moor the first part of the course was along a well marked path but we soon turned off into the same sort of terrain that we encountered at the end of the first day.
It was this terrain that caused problems for all the team members with one person injuring her ankle which slowed her down. The team then decided to cut the challenge short due to time constraints. Fiona, who was carrying the box for her team also fell and hurt her shoulder. She picked the box up and carried on for a number of miles. After driving to Salisbury on Monday she was still in pain, went to the A&E and discovered that she had broken her collarbone and sprained her shoulder!
The finish line was a welcome sight with a large crowd cheering the finisher and we were surprised to see that a number of friends, colleagues and clients had made the journey to congratulate us all (and to provide us with Gin & Tonic and cookies).
The whole event was extremely well organised and the barbecue and beer at the end was fantastic.
Overall, the Challenge was definitely that – a challenge and everyone achieved a lot during the event (not just blisters and sore feet). Would I do it again? Of course I would, I can’t wait until next year.
Not only did we get a lot out of the challenge, and the training we organised over the last six months, but we have raised a lot of money to help ShelterBox do what they do.
We are now thinking about what we will do next year. Let us know if you’re interested in taking part in the Challenge in 2011.