|Posted by Lauren Simms on May 8, 2017 at 3:55 PM|
By Cdt C. Loft
On 21-23 April 2017, Cdt Christine Loft from 992 (Malmesbury) Squadron ATC attended the RAF 2 Day March held at RAF Cosford, organised by the walking and road marching association (WARMA), along with three teams from Dorset and Wiltshire Wing.
The event is held annually and the participants march 50 miles (80km) across the 2 days. Cadets from Dorset and Wiltshire Wing started training for the event in January 2017, starting at 10 miles (16km) and gradually increasing the distance until being able to march the 25 miles (40km) required. This year around 1,320 military marches and 110 civilians attended the event including entrants from the US Navy SEALs, the Swedish Army Reserves, the Norwegian Army, the Marine Nationale (French Navy), the Danish Home Guard, and the Bundeswehr (German Army).
The teams arrived at RAF Cosford on the Friday evening, excited and nervous for what the next two days would bring.
Day one required the cadets to march 26 miles (42km) in the surrounding Shropshire and Staffordshire countryside. Two out of the three Dorset and Wiltshire teams set off at around 0730 (the third team opted for the 20km (12 mile) march over the two days and would therefore set off much later). The first checkpoint was 10km (6 miles) into the march, but upon arriving, a participant from one of the teams had to drop out due to injuries, and unfortunately this led to one of our teams falling behind. However, we soon managed to overtake other teams and finished strongly at around 1700.
Already exhausted, the cadets were relieved to find that day two was a shorter distance of 24 miles (38km). The teams set off slightly earlier, at around 0710, and started the day off by saluting Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, who came to see off all the teams. As expected, day two was much more demanding than the previous day, and unfortunately there were multiple drop outs from both teams. Due to this, both teams merged into one big Dorset and Wiltshire team. At around 1600, Dorset and Wiltshire Wing marched through the gates of RAF Cosford, completing WARMA's 2 day march.
Upon completion the team had a short rest before collecting their well-earned medals and badges. Those who completed the march are now qualified to attend Nijmegen in July, and are training towards this next big goal.
The experience, though strenuous, was quite enjoyable, allowing cadets to form bonds with people within the Wing, testing their abilities and being able to push themselves. It gives a great sense of satisfaction to know what you are capable of doing, and I would recommend this opportunity to other cadets who are looking to attend this event in future.