On Sunday 3rd September, three Welbexians, took part in the Paras’10 tab at Vimy barracks, Catterick. The Paras’10 is a gruelling 10 mile tab carrying a weight of 35lbs plus water, so as you may imagine the majority of our summer holidays were consumed by going out on long practise runs and many hours of gym work. In Dan’s case, running around a 200m track 80 times on his cruise ship while attracting quite a few curious spectators.
On race day, it was a 5am start and a 3 hour trek up to Catterick. We were all very excited to start, if not only to see each other after 9 weeks, however once we arrived excitement turned to nerves as we were waiting around for 2 hours after registration for the race to start. In that time, we were grateful to meet many ex Welbexians who were now either Paras themselves or still on DTUS, all of which were glad that Welbeck still competed in the Paras’10. Although the three of us going on our own accord was slightly different to the Welbeck organised trips of 12 & 13 entries. Whilst waiting we also saw Mr. Burgess, Alanbrooke housemaster and Design Engineering teacher. He was very helpful with tips for the race and it was something we all took on board.
At 1105 the race started, everyone was huddled between the start gate, bergans on, making final adjustments, listening for the speakers. The weather was perfect so it should make for a decent race. “Standby…GO!” and we were off, trying to make a swift exit from the start gates we had to walk for a short while until the spaces were big enough to run through. We all quickly found comfortable paces as the three of us split up and ran our own races.
By the second mile I was already tired, the flats I was training on simply couldn’t prepare me for the monstrous hills that P Company is held on. However, the hills offered somewhat of a rest as, unless you were insane, you walked up them. Climbing the 100m hills provided us with gorgeous views, but also lots of wind which again put the challenge on the run. It’s at this point, I started meeting serving paras who were also running the race, who encouraged me to run up the smaller hills to get the best time I could.
At 9 miles the water obstacles worked their way in. Running through a knee deep trough of muddy water, probably waist deep for Dan, I tried my best not to fall over, as the ground wasn’t remotely even. First one done and there were two more similar troughs, except I’m sure each one got deeper and deeper as eventually I was soaked up to my chest. Then, dripping with water there was another hill to force ourselves up, to our relief, “Last Hill” was signposted at the top. Running and feeling good that the worst was over I realised the sign was a complete lie as I found myself running up another hill, and then another in quick succession. Relaxing into a slow jog I passed the same Para who spurred me on at the two mile mark, “Go for it! Go! Only 1 mile left!” and with that I ran as fast as my aching legs could take me.
Coming round the final corner I was filled with emotion, I was absolutely beaming as I stumbled across the finish line and received my medal from a veteran. It was time to wait for Jordan and Dan now who came through the finish in a similar fashion. We stuck around for the rewards ceremony afterwards where trophies were awarded. As a team we did Welbeck proud. I won the u19 tab and was presented with the Alex Fairey Memorial Trophy, Jordan came in 3rd and Dan 5th.
It was an excellent day and I would like to thank the Parachute Regiment for putting on such an amazing event. Until next year.
James Burn – 1:35:51 – position 27 of 487
Jordan Frier – 1:46:40 – position 85 of 487
Dan Singlewood – 1:58:56 – position 177 of 487
Mr Burgess – 2:00:46 – position 199 of 487