A team of serving personnel from RAF Wittering, The Wittering Rat Racers, took on the 2019 Rat Race Dirty Weekend obstacle course at Burghley House on Saturday 11 May 2019. Spanning a distance of 20 miles and posing 200 obstacles, this is quite simply the World's Biggest Assault Course! The headline of the obstacle course is the 140m long monkey bar challenge.
Taking on the full course at this year’s Burghley Mud Run, the team includes Sergeants Richard Pidgeon & Jason Raymont, Flying Officer Jeremy Parker, Flt Lt Dan Gordon & wife Toni, Senior Aircraftman (T) Edward Allen, Senior Aircraftman Olivia Titmuss, and Private Jack Gibbons. Starting the challenge at 1130 hrs, and in good weather conditions, the team set off in high spirits not knowing what was to come, soon after realising the challenge was not for the faint-hearted.
Over the next 20 miles the team crawled through mud, scaled walls, and climbed 30ft obstacles, only to then jump off the other side into freezing water, swimming across reservoirs and ploughing through numerous fields.
Of particular mention Private Jack Gibbons successfully completed the 140m long monkey bar challenge, an achievement accomplished by very few on the day. Although physically draining, the team kept their morale high and accomplished feats beyond their perceived capabilities.
Toni Gordon said: "I had a moment where I questioned why I even bothered to do this, that's how tough the challenge was. Knowing that we were raising money to support RAF members going through much worse situations spurred me on.”
Toni also overcame her paralysing fear of heights to take a plunge off an elevated platform into a deep muddy filled pool of water.
Jason Raymont said: "I particularly liked anything that was different and out of the 'norm'. The big inflatable water slides, climbing frames and water jumps are just a few things that I can remember which stood out for me, purely because they are things that you wouldn’t normally experience in your day-day life …. for adults anyway!
"It goes without saying that everyone has their low points with mile 17 being one of them. The course provides not only physical but mental obstacles. The overwhelming support spurred the team on to complete the remaining 3 miles and over the finish line. A big thank you to all RAF Wittering personnel, families and friends.
"The RAF Benevolent Fund has stood by RAF families since 1919, during times of struggle and hardship. They strive to support each and every member of the RAF whenever they need them – a very worthy cause in our books."
Lisa Hunt, Regional Fundraiser at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: "We are all incredibly thankful to the RAF team at wittering for fundraising us in this huge challenge. 2019 is a very big year for us with the celebration of our centenary year. With supporters like this we can strive to continue to support the needs of the RAF Family."
To sponsor the RAF Wittering racers, visit their JustGiving page.