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Commando Helicopter Force takes the road to Twickenham

Published: 07 May 2014

In the run up to the annual Army v Navy rugby match held at Twickenham Stadium, a challenge was laid down by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) to ride, row, swim, walk, crawl, or even hop the equivalent distance from your place of work to Twickenham Stadium. 

On Wednesday 30th April 24 members of the Combat Support Squadron (CSS), part of the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) based in RNAS Yeovilton, completed a 1 mile swim, 26 mile run, 24 mile row and a 60 mile cycle ride in teams of 4, to match the 111 mile distance from Yeovilton to Twickenham. 

With training for this event being worked around team members supporting CHF inNorwayon the annual CLOCKWORK Exercise and inScotlandon Exercise Joint Warrior, the 24 team members finally came together with a very early morning start straight into the HMS Heron swimming pool. 

The plan was to complete the 111 miles in less than 14 hours, however in true ‘Bootneck’ style the competition between the teams soon kicked in and the race to complete the challenge in the fastest time was on. 

Signals troop carried their sprint tactics from the pool to the run, with each team member completing a 1km gallop as fast as the machine would go before changing over. They managed to maintain this break neck speed for the full 26 miles earning themselves the new name of the ‘Forrest Gump Troop’. 

With the sound of ‘Run Forrest Run’ reverberating around the gym all teams finished the 26 miles in just over two and a half hours and moved straight onto the rowing machines for another 24 mile sprint. 

The final discipline was the 60 mile cycle which finished with a last minute sprint race between the Motor Transport (MT) troop and Signals troop for the fastest overall time. All 6 teams finished well under the allocated time with Signals troop being the first across the finish line with an excellent time of 7 hours, 50 minutes and 5 seconds. 

The Veterans team, or the ‘Grey Haired Gang’ as they were better known, brought up the rear with a very respectable time of 9 hours, 11 minutes and 9 seconds, especially as the combined age was 175yrs old compared to other teams that didn’t break the 100yrs combined age! 

Captain Garry Mason RM, who organised the event, said “It’s been great taking part in this challenge and supporting the RNRMC, having seen first hand what the charity does for our men and women, whether they are deployed or at home.” 

The total amount raised so far by CHF for the RNRMC stands at £2578.97, with Gift Aid added bringing the total up to £2927.50. 

The Commanding Officer of CHF, Captain Niall Griffin RN said “This is a great effort by all team members, I am very proud of everyone involved in raising such a fantastic amount for the RNRMC.”


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