Before I start, it was very hard. It was extremely difficult.
This is an event I've been wanting to do for years. My father was a Para. He passed away in 1994 and I have always lived my life basking in the glow of his reflected greatness. The army has a different standing than it did when I was a boy. Back then, in the midst of a conflict in Northern Ireland, the army was looked badly upon for being involved in such a contentious issue.
Now, with the brave and sterling work done overseas, the army is fashionable. Help for Heroes and the like have come along and made soldiering honourable again. As it should be, in my humble opinion. The Para 10 was a great event. Most of us were ordinary desk jockies going out to prove their worth, see if we could emulate these warriors.
It was probably the best run event I've been to. Military everywhere giving directions and pointing the way with an assertive air. Every 500m or so round the course was a Red beret and a smile.
The course was muddy. Not too many big hills mind you. There were a couple of voluntary water crossings. One which Tom and I did. The rucksack was obviously a game changer. It was brilliant though. I felt like a warrior out there. I felt the soldiers respected us too. Yes, they could do it in their sleep, but we didn't do it weekly with the rest of our platoon. I ran alone when I trained, pushing myself. I didn't have a sergeants boot up my arse, I certainly wasn't getting paid for it!
Talking about training, when I weighed my ruck before the off: 52lb! 17lb extra I had trained with! I like ruck training. Its practical, challenging and it seems to have cleaned up my tendonitis, strangely. I think i will continue to run weekly or fortnightly with the ruck. My boots, a good few years old now but not used often, held out spectacularly.
Tom and I ran together for about 6miles then he sped off. I went through the wall about then. I would say I ran 60-70% of the course and managed to finish at a good canter.
As is my wont, I made a few brief friendships along the route. There were some tough people out there. There wasn't the cameraderie of a Tough Guy, probably because everyone was in their own little world of pain. I tried not to look to far ahead,
I have a ten miler in December I'm doing because I know the guy organising it. I will look forward to running without the pack. Or should I wear it...?
I will do this event next year. I will get the 1:50 P Company standard time. I challenge you to come with Tom and I. Go on, go on, go on.
Se debrouiller, Charlie.