Marathon Vehicle Pull

And so it came to pass – midnight, 43 people, 1 Land Rover, 1 airfield and 26 miles 385 yards of tarmac and the RAF Wyton Marathon Vehicle Push 2013 was on! Pheidippides* would not believe how his memory was to be honoured as we all shouldered this metallic burden.

Bleary eyed but eager in equal measure, teams from ULAS, 57(R) Sqn, 14 Geo Sqn, the Station Rugby Team and the PEd Flt pitted themselves against nearly 3 tons of metal and the iconic Olympic running distance.

Geared up as a Force Development activity, designed to test our morale, teamwork and physical stamina teams were paired up and tasked to convey our 4-wheeled protagonist around a 1.4 mile airfield course before  changing over to the next teams. As it happened we mastered the mechanical millstone from the start and actually began running around the track, making short work of the circuit. As the baton was dragged into the midst of the next 2 teams, the work ethic kicked in and all took to jogging and walking, clearing the laps in as little as 14 minutes! As the early hours reeled off the miles clocked up even faster. With an eclectic mix of ‘Jungle’  rhythms and Fleetwood Mac filling the airwaves and easing away the drudgery, we quickly began thinking about an early finish. Fuelled by caffeine, crisps and the occasional ‘Big-Mac’ the Land Rover rolled on for 6 hrs and 25 minutes before it notched up the golden figures. This was an awesome effort bearing in mind that most recreational runners of the London Marathon finish around the 5 hr mark!

As a sideline to the event we were pleased to be able to raise from donations nearly £650 for charity. I sincerely thank all of the vehicle pushers for investing so much time and effort and for raising such a great quantity of money. Also thank you to the NARO team for supplying and removing the lighting for the event. Cpl Clements and SAC Smith helped, at the last minute, in setting up the lighting systems. Thanks too to Sqn Ldr Lambert for freeing up a slot in the flying programme to host the event, albeit we finished earlier than expected.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt: “It is only through labour and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage that we move on to better things.” Same time and place next year?

* The modern marathon commemorates the legend that a soldier, Pheidippides, ran from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon in Greece to Athens in 490BC to announce victory in the Battle of Marathon.