Whole group complete epic route march over Pen y Fan in latest Gore Experience Tour Challenge.
If you read our recent guest blog by Stephen Smith, you'll know that last weekend, ten 'lucky' Gore-Tex Experience Tour winners were set to take on the mountain endurance challenge known as the 'Fan Dance', which is used as part of British special forces selection.
They weren't quite thrown in at the deep end though. In the run-up to the event, they were given a training programme by British Military Fitness and, before tackling the 23.5km challenge itself, they spent two days learing some of the skills they'd need to complete the run.
Those included not just the obvious like navigation, but also more general mountain and bushcraft skills like building fires, catching and cooking dinner and collecting water. Of course navigation was a priority and to help max out their skills, the group tackled an 8km route through the Brecon Beacons at night.
And They're Off
The big day dawned on Tuesday with the group poised below Pen y Fan for the start as well prepared as they could be bearing in mind that for many, it was the first time they'd used maps in earnest while Latvian winner Jaroslav, had never encountered hills on the scale of the Beacons.
In the event, the preparation and timing paid off big time - at the half way point, some six of the group were only minutes apart and going well, others were steady while one, Brendon, had disappeared. It turns out he tool a scenic detour which added an extra 5km to his day.
The target time was four hours, which is the time set for special forces recruits. Remarkably, five of the team actually came in at under three hours with Rachel and guest blogger Steve leading the way home, followed by the other seven on course winners.
Which left detour man, Brendon bringing up the rear eventually finishing the route but missing the target time in just over 4 hours and 15 minutes. The full results were:
- 2:53:27: Rachel & Steve
- 2:59:40: Barry
- 2:59:55: Clive & Sarah
- 3:14:54: Jaroslav
- 3:25:23: Carolyne
- 3:40:24: James
- 3:43:52: Lindsay
- 4:15:22: Brendon
Impressive stuff and we're expecting a follow-up blog from Steve on his personal experience of the challenge, so watch this space.
To catch up with the latest Gore-Tex Experience Tour challenges see www.experience-tour.com.