Exercise Olympus Viking - Charity support

The First Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Vikings) are attempting to raise £50,000 to support these 4 outstanding charities: –

  • Combat Stress
  • Royal Anglian Benevolent Fund
  • One Dream One Wish
  • Little Heroes

The Vikings are taking on a monumental challenge travelling from Woolwich, London to Dhekelia, Cyprus.

Soldiers are running 65 miles from Woolwich to Dover, then swimming the English Channel to Calais, France. A cycling team will then cycle for 4 weeks through Europe to Marathon, Greece, with the final leg starting from Greece and finishing in Cyprus by a rowing team.

You can donate here

Exercise Olympus Viking Leg 1

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.

Exercise Olympus Viking Leg 2

At 0000hrs on Sun 25 Jul the Exercise Olympus swimming team were finishing their last-minute preparations before launching the second leg of the OV relay challenge. They had been waiting for the green light from the Channel Swimming Association and were given the go-ahead earlier on Saturday. After some interviews about the charity fundraising challenge with BFBS, Capt Mike Andrews was first in the water, and in the darkness at approximately 0030hrs, he started swimming and kicked off the channel crossing.

The Channel Swimming Association have some rules put in place to make the crossing an official event – one of which is that swimmers must not wear a wetsuit. The team of 8 were doing 1-hour rotations in the water and had to battle with the current, the weather and the very many jellyfish they encountered. The team had varying levels of swimming experience and had all participated in the build-up training beforehand. There were several sessions at Charlton Lido but everyone also had to complete a ‘channel inoculation’ to be deemed fit to attempt the crossing.

One of the difficulties that swimming the channel presents is dealing with the seasickness whilst waiting on the boat. And this was definitely the case for a few of the Viking swimmers who were sick before, during and after their turn swimming! However, this was not enough to delay things and the team made excellent time. With the regimental flag in hand, Lt Bamford and LCpl Cheal swam ashore onto French soil and met the Ex OV cycling team on the shores of Cap Gris-Nez. Lt Jake Bamford handed over the flag to Lt Ross Simmons at 1400hrs. After a quick photo, the swimmers returned to the boat and made their way back to Dover.

An incredible achievement for all and completed in a remarkable 14 hours. It is now over to the cycling team who will cycle 3500km through Europe in no more than 27 days.

Leg 3 now underway!

You can donate here