The team of commandos taking part in an ambitious five month multi terrain challenge have now arrived at their starting point.
A team of 19 have arrived at Porsangermoen, 450 kms north of the Arctic Circle, in Norway, in preparation for the start of the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge.
The Challenge will test their endurance to the limit as they cross land and sea, covering several thousand miles in this, the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Marines.
Later this week, they will set off on a 1,664 ski from Porsangermoen down to Stavanger from where they will sail a yacht to Cadiz, in Spain, once there they will start cycling north across the Pyrenees to the English Channel where they will canoe back to the UK.
Once on British soil, Royal Marines and Army Commandos from the different units will run a total of 1,664 km England, Scotland and Wales, finishing on July 25 in London.
Over the course of the five months they are hoping to raise £500,000 for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF) the overarching Royal Marines charity.
In total, more than 2,500 marines will take part in the challenge, but a core of six marines will do the entire challenge from start to finish. They are:
• Officer Commanding – Captain Sam Moreton, from 42 Cdo, Plymouth
• Second in Command – Colour Sergeant Richie Hayden, from 40 Cdo, Taunton
• Corporal Tom Rounding from 30 Cdo, Plymouth
• Corporal Anthony Fairclough, from Commando Logistics Regiment, Chivenor
• Lance Corporal Matt Robb, from 43 Commando, Faslane
• Marine Tom Baker, from 45 Cdo, Arbroath
Overseeing the first stage (skiing) of the challenge is Major Jon Clare RM. He said: “A year and a half ago I took part in a ski challenge across Norway but this one is a lot longer and a lot tougher. We will do the first half (500-600 km) in full Royal Marine kit and after that we will change to civilian gear for the rest. Weather is going to be a major factor which determines our route, our timings and the risks we face. But all of our skiers have been in Norway for a few weeks undergoing training and are ready for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Every year Royal Marines travel to Norway for Cold Weather Training, which focuses on survival, mobility and fighting in sub zero temperatures.
The six core members have completed their training and been preparing for the task ahead.
C/Sgt Richie Hayden, who lives in Peterborough, said: “In order to take part in the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge I have had to leave my wife and two children at home for several months. But after three tours of Afghanistan and two tours of Iraq, they have become used to it and fully support me in what I am doing. I became a Royal Marine to challenge myself, to make sense of complexity, and see things through to the end, that is why I am part of the core six, I was born for the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge.”