At 0600hrs on Saturday 2nd September, a convey of military vehicles left the RV point at Clennell Hall, Northumberland, carrying a combination of Royal Marines and 24 COPS 30 Miler participants. After de-bussing at Kirknewton and a final kit check, the first of three syndicates set off alongside their syndicate commander and his team of Marines. The other two syndicates soon followed and there began an unforgettable and humbling day of achievement and exertion, amidst the beautiful and unforgiving terrain of the Cheviot Hills.
By the end of the afternoon, just 7 of the 24 had managed to complete the full 30 miles, but all agreed everyone gave 100% and battled through personal limits, blisters, aches, pains and a few minor injuries, to go as far as they could. Presentations, photos and congratulations followed once back at base as families, friends and supporters looked on and then the day ended with another great social event at Clennell, including a barbecue and hog roast. As the aches subsided and the news came through that around £11,000 had been raised, people started talking about coming back for the 2018 edition…
Here’s a short promo video, taken by participant John Hodgson, as well as a few photos from the day, courtesy of various participants.
…Venty on the port again!
See you in 2018.
At 0700hrs on Saturday 20th August 2016, the 18 participants of the first COPS 30 miler yomp set off from the tiny village of Kirknewton, at the northernmost tip of the Northumberland national park. These individuals, who came from various walks of life, had volunteered to carry 30lb backpacks (plus food and water) and run alongside Royal Marines Commandos, up and down hills, through fields, across streams, over barbed wire fences, along farm tracks, and other features of the wild and beautiful terrain that makes up The Cheviot Hills.
The route, logistics and medical support were planned to meticulous detail by the men of RMR Scotland: Tyne Detachment, led by Captain Andy Dyer. Approximately 30 Marines were directly involved during the day, running alongside participants and setting the pace whilst navigating, monitoring progress and safety.
The day started out bright and sunny, but soon became overcast, misty and drizzly, before a full-on downpour drenched everyone from the 20 mile mark onward. Undeterred, the participants pushed on, soaked to the bone, with the sound of the Royal Marines syndicate leaders shouting encouragement throughout: “Close the gap! Push up to the front!” Over the full duration of the course, apart from overcoming brutal terrain and physical exhaustion, participants climbed over 5,000 feet – almost one and a half times the height of Mount Snowdon.
Of the 18 participants who started, 10 were able to complete the full 30 miles, with 2 being withdrawn by Captain Dyer due to injury and 6 reaching their personal limits and having to step down. Everyone gave 100% and rightly feels proud of what was achieved.
At the conclusion of the 30 miler at Clennell Hall near Alwinton, participants were applauded by the Royal Marines as well as families, friends and supporters. There followed a short presentation of certificates, souvenirs and COPS 30 Miler T-shirts, then it was time to tend to aching feet, grab a drink and enjoy the barbecue that the Marines had laid on for everyone.
Captain Dyer commended all who took part, saying, “Whether or not someone managed to complete the full 30 miles, it is a real achievement to carry that amount of weight, at that pace, across such extreme terrain and in such horrible weather”.
Over £5,000 was raised in total, which is testament to the dedication of those who took part and put such effort into fundraising for two very worthwhile causes.
Syndicate 1 kit check
Gossa and Si, the COPS 30 Miler founders (they weren’t smiling 5 miles later)
Syndicate 2 getting ready
About to set off…
Quick breather at a checkpoint
John Turner poses for photos for 10 mins whilst the rest of us try to catch up
Chris checks Facebook, whilst Ollie dries out following his unscheduled swim
Great views from the top!
‘The most honking hill on the course’
Elliot McVey – ‘The Machine’
Nice photography skills from Major Sandy
“Cold and bleak. And that was just my mood”. (Ian McAllister, 2016)
Sheer determination as the weather closes in
Soaked at the final checkpoint
Barbecue time at Clennell Hall
Venty on the port again