A GROUP of British Army Gurkha soldiers are preparing to face one of the world’s toughest sporting events in North Yorkshire.
The five soldiers from the Gurkha Company, 2nd Infantry Battalion, based at Catterick Garrison, will brave the Yorkshire Spartan Sprint at Ellington Barracks, Ripon, on Sunday, September 28.
The challenge is a 5km cross-country obstacle course race featuring 15 military-style obstacles and is designed to bring out the “inner warrior” in racers.
The soldiers will take part as the Gurkha Warriors Team, have been putting in extra training on top of their normal for their debut Spartan Race - and are relishing the opportunity to take part.
Team captain Lance Corporal Amar Gurung said: “It was my idea to build a team.
“One of my friends did a Spartan Race two or three years ago in the Midlands and he won it. He said that it was quite tough but also lots of fun, and he recommended that I try it. He was a good runner.
“Staying fit and healthy is good for everyone whether they are from the military or civilians, and the Spartan Race will help people, as they will have to train for the event and this will help maintain their fitness.”
The team includes Cpl Nishan Rai, 24, L Cpl Bhupendra Rai, 27, L Cpl Prabin Jabegu, 26, L Cpl Mukum Hembya, 23, and L Cpl Amar Gurung, 25.
Obstacles are kept secret to surprise racers, but they may have to tackle 15ft rope climbs, slippery seven-foot ramp scaling, spear target-throwing, carrying sandbags up steep hills and barbed-wire mud crawls.
The would-be Spartans could also find themselves having to scale 25ft-high cargo nets and even leaping through fire.
LCpl Gurung added: “The other four members of our team were really interested to do the race and everyone is looking forward to it.
“We have been training together, and doing some extra running. We are looking forward to feeling good about wearing the Spartan medal as well.”
Dan Tuffnell, Spartan Race UK’s director, said: “The venue for our race, Ellington Banks, is a training area for British Army cadets and motor vehicles of all sorts, including tanks, so it's very undulating and very fast to run over, with diverts, tracks, potholes and craters where the vehicles spin around in the mud throughout the year.
“There's a really big hill that's quite a long slog – it will split the men from the boys, and the women from the girls. It's going to be quite a family event too, a real community feel to the day.”