Intrepid Edenbridge firefighters conquer Exmoor 30-30 Challenge
By kentsussex | Friday, October 05, 2012, 12:51
Intrepid Edenbridge firefighters braved injury and exhaustion to conquer their toughest challenge yet.
Paul Preston, 42, and his colleagues Lee Causon, 33, and Mark Moore, 32, joined two firefighters from Herne Bay to complete the Exmoor 30-30 Challenge.
The competition of fitness, endurance and navigational skills involved them covering 30km on foot while carrying 30lbs each on their backs.
Mr Preston said: "It was very tough. We got lost a few times and probably did a few more kilometres than we'd intended."
The group began the challenge in Exmoor at 5.15am, finishing the course by 1.30pm. They had to bring a map and compass and were given the grid references for the checkpoints on the day.
Mr Preston said: "It was just constant walking – mostly off-road. It wasn't bad weather but it had been, so many of the fields were boggy."
The team spent weeks preparing for the challenge, training in the hilly South Downs.
The fundraising event for the Royal British Legion came just five months after the same team – plus Neil Hodson, 34 – completed the Three Peaks Challenge.
This involved them climbing the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in less than 24 hours, including time taken to travel between the sites. They managed that challenge in 21 hours and 23 minutes.
Mr Preston said the Exmoor challenge was much more difficult, although the team still managed second place out of 15. They also raised £2,000 for the RBL.
He added: "We knew if we didn't get [the navigation] right then we could end up miles off and be out of the competition."
There were some tough moments, including when one team member cut his knee open during a river crossing.
The men also shared the load carried by team-mate and Herne Bay firefighter Leanne Waldron towards the end of the race.
Mr Preston said: "We had to work together. But we had good fun and good banter and at no point did anyone struggle to finish. I was quite tired and exhausted when I was done.
"It was just about raising the money for a good cause – in a crazy way – and it was a really good challenge.
"I'd wondered if I could do it but then I thought 'of course I can'."