At 0200hrs on 20 July 21, Warrant Officer Class Two Gav Watts and his team of runners stepped off with the 1st Battalion flag from Woolwich and embarked upon their colossal 70-mile journey to Dover. The team have a mix of experience with some having never run a marathon before, so this really was a huge challenge. The first leg went well and they made good time to reach the first RV. It was at approximately 0800hrs that the heat began to intensify making it even more difficult.
The original plan was for all of the runners to do at least one leg of the running, which is a marathon in distance. However, the Viking spirit took hold and almost all of the runners decided they would complete all 70 miles. With plenty of hydration stops, the team pushed on and reached the second RV at approximately 1200hrs. After running through the heat of the day, the weather turned, the heavens opened and they found themselves in the middle of a hailstorm. This didn’t dampen their morale and a break from the heat was welcomed.
The final leg was challenging. Inevitably, blisters started to appear and muscles started to seize. They hit hill after hill and the sun was back out in force. As they approached the white cliffs of Dover, the plan was to meet the swimming team captain, Lt Bamford, on Samphire Beach to handover the flag to the swim team at the start point of the cross-channel swim. This involved having to climb down some steep descents to gain access to the beach and running the last mile on shingle. With the incentive of the finish line in sight, all runners made it to the end, finishing at 1904hrs.
Leg 1 was an incredible achievement that exemplifies the ethos and spirit of being a Royal Anglian and a Viking. As it stands, EXOV has raised £2875 for three very worthy charities, including the Regimental Charity – a good start but the target is much higher, so all donations are welcome through the link below.