Hundreds of elite athletes from all over the country will head for Rutland Water a week on Saturday for the Dambuster Duathlon with qualification for the GB team for the 2014 Age Group World Duathlon Championships up for grabs.
Group World Duathlon Championships up for grabs.
Amongst the 800 athletes tackling the 10k run, 42k cycle and 5k run are a team of soldiers from 7 Theatre Logistic Regiment which moved to Kendrew Barracks in Cottesmore from Germany last year, hard on the heels of a tour in Afghanistan.
The regiment is now settled into its new location and continues to support worldwide operations as well as closer to home, as demonstrated in recent flood relief work.
A team of 12 soldiers will take on the event after Captain Jon Robinson found an advert for the Dambuster Duathlon in a magazine and decided to enter as a challenge.
A brief advertising campaign at the barracks recruited 11 names, none of whom had completed a triathlon or duathlon before. Three did not even own bikes when they signed up for the challenge.
The youngest soldier taking part is 20 and the oldest 44. Military life means all have good basic fitness and all are regular runners.
Captain Robinson said: “Training has been erratic at best, a combination of time, weather and work commitments conspiring to prevent most attempts to achieve anything useful.
“A particularly memorable Wednesday afternoon was spent trying to complete a lap of the airfield in 60mph winds. Anything the event has to throw at us will pale into insignificance.
“I have set a target of three hours for completion of the race, but will be delighted if all that start finish without injury or incident.
“The main aim is to foster enthusiasm for cycling, running, duathlon and general physical activity and to get soldiers off the base and involved in activity in the local area. Rutland is a beautiful county, it is too easy to sit in barracks and miss it completely.
“A spin off will hopefully be identifying a team to enter into the Army duathlon later in the year.”