You will find a wealth of information about the COPS 30 miler on this page. Please take the time to read it carefully – if you have any other questions please feel free to email Alison.Sutton@ukcops.org
Who is responsible for organising and running this event?
The founders of the COPS 30 miler are Lee Gosling and Simon Guilfoyle, but it is officially endorsed by COPS and the Royal Marines; COPS are responsible for managing registration and handling sponsorship monies, whilst the Royal Marines are responsible for planning and marshaling the route, as well as organising logistics and safety support on the day.
Who should take part?
As the COPS 30 miler aims to raise funds partly for the COPS charity by doing something unusual and extreme, the original intention was for eligibility to be aimed solely at current and former police officers or staff. However, it is recognised that family members, friends or supporters of the charities supported may also wish to partake – therefore, whilst the organisers would still particularly welcome participants from within the police service, the event is open to anyone who wishes to take part.
Is it safe?
The event is an extreme endurance event involving an extended period of intense physical exertion. Remember – this the final test that Royal Marines recruits do before they are awarded their prized green berets. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! The ethos of the COPS 30 miler is about undertaking a challenging and unusual event in aid of two very worthwhile charities, so be under no illusion that it will be a walk in the park. However, it is envisaged that a person of reasonable fitness who does not suffer from any medical conditions likely to render their participation in the event unsafe, could, with the proper physical preparation and mental mindset, be quite capable of successfully completing this challenge. For more information, please see the ‘health warning‘ page on this site.
How can I prepare for the COPS 30 miler?
Participants will be provided with safety advice, training advice and advice on suitable footwear, foot care, nutrition and equipment following registration.
Is the event insured?
Yes, the organisers have taken out appropriate insurance for the event. Participants may, at their own discretion, also choose to purchase additional insurance on an individual basis. Companies such as this one offer such personal insurance options, although please note that this option is just signposted as a suggestion and the organisers of the COPS 30 miler are not endorsing any particular provider. If you are interested in this option then it could be worth shopping around.
How much weight will I need to carry?
Participants will carry a bergen weighing 32lbs throughout the 30 mile course, as this is the weight that Royal Marines recruits carry during the real thing. As long as certain essential items are included (see below), it is not important what the overall weight consists of (bags of sugar wrapped in a sleeping bag are a good option), but please note that participants’ bergens will be weighed at the start and end of the course. Although there will be water stops, participants will also need to carry water and food for energy in addition to the weight in the bergen.
What type of clothing, kit and equipment will I need?
Participants will require a bergen (or any type of backpack strong enough and large enough to hold the requisite weight). Army surplus stores can be a good source of relatively cheap and durable backpacks, although there is no requirement for it to be of a military-type design. Participants will also need to wear long or combat-type trousers rather than shorts. A belt and water bottles are also essential (unless you prefer to carry your water in a bladder / camel back) – once again army surplus stores can be a good option for sourcing these items. Finally, a good pair of boots with ankle support are absolutely critical and non-negotiable; they can be military or very durable hiking boots, but they should ideally be waterproof and must incorporate full ankle support otherwise participants will not be allowed to take part.
Do I need to carry particular items in my bergen?
Yes. Although the event is taking place in summer (meaning T-shirts will be the order of the day), please bear in mind that the weather in the Cheviot Hills can be unpredictable, so the following specific items are required for inclusion when you are filling your bergens:
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm or thermal jacket
- Hat and gloves
- Spare socks
- Spare bootlaces
- Emergency rations
Is there a time limit to complete the 30 miles?
Royal Marines recruits must complete a 30 mile load-bearing yomp in under 8 hours (7 hours for officer candidates). It is hoped that participants of the COPS 30 miler will also be able to complete the course in under 8 hours; however, this is not a pass / fail event.
What time does it start?
Precise timings will be sent out to participants nearer the time, but it is likely to be an early start (around 0600 hrs on the ground).
Is it a race?
No. Those taking part in the COPS 30 miler are likely to take on the course in small syndicates (e.g. approx 15-18), each accompanied by Royal Marines. The ethos of the event is very much in line with the Royal Marines emphasis on teamwork and the Commando Spirit – i.e. courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity – therefore, the objective is for everyone to work together in their teams to hopefully complete the course as a unit.
Is there a ‘clean fatigue’ (i.e. non-loading bearing) option?
Not for this year’s event. The original idea was to replicate the original Royal Marines 30 mile test march as closely as possible, so there is no clean fatigue option this year. This may be something that can be considered for future years however, and we will keep you posted.
Does everyone have to carry the same weight?
Yes. The idea is to keep the event as close to the real thing as possible, so there are no weight concessions. However, as this is a charity event and not a pass/fail test, if you feel you might not be able to do the full 30 miles, then just do your best with the weight you have to carry.
What happens if I find myself struggling or get injured?
Participants may withdraw themselves from the event at any stage; likewise, if in the professional opinion of the Royal Marines combat medics a participant presents a risk to his or her own safety or medical well being, they may be withdrawn from the event. If this occurs, it will be done in the best interests of the person concerned and should not be interpreted as a personal failure. As previously stated, the COPS 30 miler is designed to be as close to the 30 mile commando test that Royal Marines undertake as part of their training and is therefore particularly challenging.
What type of logistical support / safety features will the Royal Marines provide?
The Royal Marines are world leaders in organising cross country yomps (they do this sort of thing day in, day out), so the Corps is well-versed in meticulously planning and running such events to the highest standards of safety and professionalism. The Royal Marines will plan and test the route in advance (route maps will be disseminated to participants in due course), identify emergency access points, conduct a full risk assessment and provide marshals, water, medical support / first aid on the day. Royal Marines will run the course alongside participants and provide close support in the form of combat medics and a support vehicle. In other words, the COPS 30 miler will be subject the the most stringent and professional planning and implementation that an event of its type could require.
Can teams enter?
Yes, either individuals or teams are welcome to apply.
Why are COPS and RMCTF the two charities that will benefit?
The original idea was to hold a small (and looking back with hindsight, what would have been quite an amateur) event in support of COPS. However, with the subsequent involvement of the Royal Marines this has added a totally new dimension and completely transformed the COPS 30 miler idea into something that will be as close as possible to a genuine Royal Marines 30 mile test march. Therefore, it was felt that it was absolutely right to share the proceeds equally between the two charities.
What happens after registration has been completed?
COPS will send an acknowledgment via email to let you know that your registration fee has been received and your place is secure. After the end of the registration period you will then receive follow up information such as the JustGiving link, as well as training advice and regular updates.
Will I have to fill in a paper registration form and send payment by cheque?
Participants taking part in the 2016 event were required to send a hard copy of the registration form and pay by cheque, however after listening to feedback, COPS acknowledge that this process was quite cumbersome – therefore, registrants for the 2017 COPS 30 Miler will be able to pay by bank transfer.
What is the 2017 registration fee?
The 2017 COPS 30 Miler registration fee is £90. This has increased since the 2016 event due to increased overheads and to reflect the prestige nature of the event, although any ‘profit’ will be shared equally between the two charities.
Where does my registration fee go?
The objective of the COPS 30 miler is to generate as much revenue for the charities as possible, however there are some unavoidable costs. There will be a cost for Royal Marines personnel and resources, although the Corps will keep this to a minimum. There are also costs for event insurance, website domain and hosting, 4×4 ambulances and paramedics, post-event awards and T-shirts*. However, all work undertaken by Lee and Simon and COPS is done for free, plus the COPS 30 miler website has also been designed and built free of charge by Phil Emmerson.
*Note: If you do not want a T-shirt you may opt out during the registration process.
Will I get a refund if I can’t take part?
Sorry, no – registration fees are non-refundable. This is to ensure that all overhead costs are covered and the charities are not out of pocket. If you cannot take part but have paid your fee, then it may be possible to transfer your place to someone else who wishes to take part. If you wish to do this, please speak to the organisers, who will advise if this is possible.
What happens if the event is cancelled for any reason?
The Royal Marines have absolute command over the 30 miler and if in their professional opinion, weather conditions would render the event unsafe (e.g. in the event of extreme heat), they may cancel or curtail it at their sole discretion. Obviously this would only ever be done as a last resort, but the Royal Marines have a duty of care to everyone taking part. If the event is cancelled, there will still have been overheads paid for in advance (e.g. event insurance), but once these unavoidable costs have been deducted, any remaining monies from the registration fees will either be returned to the participants or donated to the charities, as per the individual’s choice.
Is there a minimum sponsorship amount?
Like many prestige events, there is a minimum requirement for sponsorship per participant. It has been set at £200, as although all who took part and raised monies for the 2016 event exceeded this amount (some by a significant margin), so it is felt this is a proportionate and achievable way of guaranteeing the charities receive a decent amount of sponsorship money. As part of the conditions of entry, participants must agree to set up a JustGiving page, which means that the money is ‘in the bank’ prior to the event – this also reduces the hassle of chasing sponsorship money promised on paper forms after completion.
How do I set up a JustGiving page?
Successful registrants will be sent details of how to do this – it only takes a few minutes.
Can I do the COPS 30 miler for another charity?
We understand that people will want to take part in this event for many reasons and may even have personal affiliations to various worthy charitable causes; however we ask (particularly as places will be limited), that participants take part in support of COPS and RMCTF, as without the huge amount of support from the Royal Marines and COPS, the event simply would not be able to take place. If you still strongly wish to support other charities, then once you have raised the minimum £200 for COPS and RMCTF, you are of course free to raise additional sponsorship for other good causes.
Can friends and family come along?
Of course! Friends and family are welcome to join you (but will not be allowed onto the course route). One of the highlights of the 2016 event was the ‘social’ at Clennell Hall afterwards, where supporters, families, friends and the Royal Marines enjoyed a barbecue and a few drinks with those who took part. It is likely that this will be repeated in 2017. Prior to the event, COPS 30 Miler participants will be provided with the exact location of the finish line, so are free to invite their friends and family to wait for them there. The Royal Marines may even lay on another barbecue after the 2017 event (likely to be around £5 per head for food, with any profits going to the two charities) and there will be a bar, so there will definitely be a social element for those interested in staying around afterwards!
Where can I stay?
There are rooms, bunkhouse options and camping facilities at Clennell Hall, which was found to be an ideal base for last year’s event. Following registration, details of exclusive COPS 30 Miler discount rates will be sent to participants, which may be used when book rooms or camping space for themselves, friends and family. You may also wish to search for local hotels / B&Bs in the Alwinton area.
Is the route being publicised?
As with the actual Royal Marines 30 mile test march, the route may vary from year to year, so will not be released on this website but directly communicated to participants shortly before the date of the event.
Why is the COPS 30 miler being held in Northumberland?
Much of the planning and logistical support is being provided by Tyne Detachment – RMR Scotland so it makes sense to hold the event nearby. Also, the local terrain is ideal for this type of event.