Trail Walking 100km in 30 hours - now that’s an epic Gurkha challenge
How many once in a lifetimes can you have? There are lots of challenges that claim to be one - but what is that really? A marathon? A skydive?
Really it’s about doing something awesome. Going beyond your comfort zone and pushing your body to the extreme. That’ll be different for each person, but when you really do have a once in a lifetime experience there’s nothing more exhilarating.
The Gurkhas are used to being challenged physically, but even they need to push themselves. Trail walking soldiers from from hills of Nepal, the Gurkhas and have serve in the British Army for almost 200 years. Known for their incredible bravery and loyalty, the Gurkhas remain an important part of the British Army.
Thirty years ago the Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment developed a stamina and teamwork training exercise like no other - long distance trail walking covering 100km non-stop in teams of four.
Trailwalker was born.
To this day the Gurkhas continue to test themselves on the South Downs, but by joining forces with Oxfam Trailwalker is now open to the public - with all money raised going to Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
It’s epic in every sense of the word. With civilians taking part alongside the Gurkha’s and teams from across the military - if there’s ever a chance to test yourself, Trailwalker is it.
The course record set by a Gurkha team sits at 9 hours 50 minutes – an incredible time to cover the distance of two and a half marathons, and climb the equivalent of Snowdon and Ben Nevis combined. To put this into context, most civilian teams will complete Trailwalker in 27 hours.
With the Gurkhas also providing the support and logistics, trail walking teams are well looked after, with a fully signed route, GPS tracking, medics, 10 check-points, hot food and massage therapists.
Teams generally describe their experience as ‘the hardest, but most worthwhile 30 hours of my life’. It’s physical, emotional but truly awesome.
The ‘Barry goes walkabout’ team took part in Trailwalker 2012, completing the challenge in 29 hours and 1 minute.
‘We reached Checkpoint 1 in no time. Chatting to other teams whilst the runners sped past.
It wasn’t till Checkpoint 5 that we appreciated just how much the support crew were helping us – they jumped straight into feeding, patching and cheering us up.
We changed into dry warm kit and prepped for the imminent night shift. We pushed on feeling confident.
Darkness fell and we began walking single file under the light of our head torches. A cup of tea at Checkpoint 6 set us up for a steep climb – to our amazement we smashed it and felt great.
Then we saw it - 1 km to go! We took our time and savoured the moment - the sun was out, the views were immense and we could see the finish line. As we reached the final few yards the clapping and cheering was overwhelming. I started bubbling up, but just about fought the urge to burst into tears of pride and exhaustion.
The sense of achievement was amazing and I managed to keep my emotions semi in check as I departed with some fantastic memories...What an incredible weekend.’
If this has got you inspired visit the Trailwalker website for more information or call 0300 200 1244. Registrations close 29th March 2013, so hurry to secure your place in this incredible Challenge.
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