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  #1  
Old 7th Nov 08, 09:33 AM
Catalina Catalina is offline
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The Paras 10 race.

Found a write-up I did on the Paras 10, so with my newly acquired "copy & paste" skills, thought I'd post it on here.
The race is 10 miles, run over the actual Parachute Regiment course at Catterick Garrison.
There is the "P Company" race, done with a 35lb bergen & boots, & the runners race, with no bergen.
The "pass" time for the Paras is 1 hour 50, so this is the time I'm aiming for next year.
I trained like mad with a bergen, then broke my wrist & fractured my hip before the race, so had to just do the runners race.
PARAS 10 - The Ultimate In 10 Mile Endurance Races


My Paras 10 race. Sept 14 08.

I arrived early, 7.30am, & was directed to a car park by a couple of rather gorgeous Para recruits who called me "ma'am"!!
Entering Catterick Garrison for the first time is quite intimidating.
It's very bleak, a bit like a concentration camp, with barbed wire everywhere.
I could well imagine how overwhelmed a nervous young new recruit might feel coming here to start training, having maybe never been away from home before.

The weather was perfect. Dull, warm, but not too hot, with no wind or rain.

If you enter by post, there's no need to register on arrival, so I killed time by nattering to some of the other girls.
Everyone seemed very relaxed & chatty as they got their bergens weighed & warmed up.

At around 10am we were called to the start, & the announcer gave us a few instructions & organised a quick aerobics session to get us in the mood.
The runners race started first, followed by the P Company/bergen racers 3 minutes later.

For me, the first 10 minutes were the worst. I suddenly felt really sick & lightheaded......think I'd taken too many painkillers......
I was walking after about 5 minutes.....
But I soon perked up, & injuries, although annoying, weren't going to stop me from completing the race, however slowly.

I was surprised the ground was so firm. I'd expected boggy grass & deep mud, but most of it was a gravel path, with a couple of streams to cross.
The hills weren't too bad, though the one at the end is STEEP!!
Really doesn't matter though, because as soon as you see that bugger looming, you know you're nearly home.

The course was marshalled by Para recruits, showing the way, shouting encouragement, & probably chuckling to themselves about how rubbish civvies are......
I spoke to a few afterwards, & they were about to do P Company. (The tests to become a Para.)

At the 5 mile mark we looped round a really nice lake.
As I came down the far side I could see that there were actually loads of people behind me. Now that's a novelty for me! In all the fell races I've done in preparation for this, I've never seen anyone behind me......I'm always last!
As you finish the lake section you head up a hill to be greeted by a race photographer at the top to capture your pain on camera......

Everyone seemed like they were having a great time, & I chatted to loads of people on the way round. We obviously weren't trying hard enough if we had enough energy to talk....

After the last hill you can basically try & leg it all the way in from there, as it's virtually flat/downhill most of the last mile.
Hearing the muffled sounds of the announcer over the PA system in the distance is great, as you know you're nearly back to the field in the Garrison where you started, & the finish line.
As I ran the last 50 meters to people clapping, I didn't feel anything other than disappointment really, as I wasn't doing the race I wanted to do, in the time I'd hoped for.
It made me realise how much I wanted to do the P Company race next time, & how hungry I was for 1 hour 50.

At the end I collected my medal & T-shirt, then just chilled for a bit nattering to people, & watched prize giving.

The results were posted in the sports hall, & we gathered round them wondering how the hell someone managed 1 hour 17 to win the P Company race.
It would have been interesting to see on the results who was serving/former serving, & who was a civvie, but there was no way of telling most of the time.
I do hope lots of civvies managed 1 hour 50!!

On the way home I was happily driving down the A59 to Skipton when my car made the most horrible noise, & ground to a halt on a dangerous blind bend.....
Two hours later I was on the back of an AA tow truck, facing a bill for a new drive shaft. (Well at least it saved me the petrol home...... )

I can't wait for next years race. September 13, 2009, Catterick Garrison.
Hope to see some of you there!!

Info on........ PARAS 10 - The Ultimate In 10 Mile Endurance Races (With a link to race results & photos)
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  #2  
Old 7th Nov 08, 09:46 AM
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AndyMan_Inc AndyMan_Inc is offline
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The girl done goooood...

Well Catalina and although you were personally disappointed a great achievement none the less. Whilst I got to do a lot of yomps over Dartmoor etc in my time in the Army I never did get to do the Para side of it (probably wasn't enthused to be honest as it was a regular occurence although not anywhere as tough as some of those guys).

Might be one for my calendar though as I love the endurance races. Was the race well attended?
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  #3  
Old 7th Nov 08, 09:53 AM
Catalina Catalina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMan_Inc View Post
Was the race well attended?
Yeah, there was hundreds of people! Never seen anything like it!

Think there will be more next year, as this was the first time this route had been open to the public, & the first time they'd done a bergen race.
35lb is bloody heavy though..... It's just SO hard to run with it on your back.
I know I could speed march it ok, but I'd have to RUN most of it to get the mens' pass time of 1 hour 50....... killer!!
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Old 7th Nov 08, 10:17 AM
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AndyMan_Inc AndyMan_Inc is offline
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Sounds gooood... obviously the real P Company is much harder (known plenty of squaddies who have triumphed and failed!) and I believe the route is tackled carrying their personal rifle as well as the bergen!

Completed plenty of 8 milers during my time which had to be done with a bergen and rifle in a specific time period, think it was 1hr 30. That was a Combat Fitness Test that had to be carried out annually but the routes were not too undulating in the sense of having to tackle major hills etc

Again a good effort on your part though.
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Old 7th Nov 08, 10:21 AM
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Week: 0.00 miles, 0 hrs 0 mins
Year: 0.00 miles, 0 hrs 0 mins
Thats 2.5 stone on your back! Blimmey!

Good on you for giving it a go, all the best with getting your 1h 50m time next year

Out of interest, what did you weigh your rucksack with for the training?

O.
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  #6  
Old 7th Nov 08, 10:30 AM
Catalina Catalina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMan_Inc View Post
... obviously the real P Company is much harder (known plenty of squaddies who have triumphed and failed!) and I believe the route is tackled carrying their personal rifle as well as the bergen!

.
The "real" P Company is 3.5 weeks of hellish tests, of which this 10 miler is just one.
We do it on the same course though, carrying the same weight, only without the rifle.

Owain, I put weights in my bergen, so knew exactly what it weighed.
At the race they are weighed at the start AND the end!! (So no throwing weight out on the way round......)
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  #7  
Old 7th Nov 08, 10:48 AM
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what's that weight in real money ?
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Old 7th Nov 08, 10:52 AM
Catalina Catalina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed_m View Post
what's that weight in real money ?

Around 18kg. (I'm old....I don't do kilos......)
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  #9  
Old 16th Nov 08, 02:04 PM
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Man Relaxed Man Relaxed is offline
Real Name: Dave   Age: 55   Gender: Male  
Location: Nottinghamshire
 
Ok, I've been obssesed by this ever since Cat posted it.
It sounds just the kind of thing I'd like to do. But it does sound a tad difficult...
So, first thing, a phone call to my brother, ex-forces, for the lowdown on just how hard this P Company thing is. Not an encouraging response..
"Bottom line. You've no chance mate! You're too old. And If you fancy a wager, are we talking a bottle of malt whisky here..?"

Hmm, well in view of that kind of talk I decided the only thing to do is have a bash. So, this morning I had a go.
First thing, the weight. Up in the loft for my big Karrimor rucsac. No scales, so I filled a 20 kilo bucket of water, tipped a bit out then added spuds to the rucsac until it felt about the same.
Bloody heavy, actually.
Pair of lightweight hiking boots on, and off we go.
You know what? Its murder.
Big respect to anyone who's done this. I did four and a half miles, and I'm too slow by nine seconds a mile. So I've got to double my mileage, and get quicker.

But, hey for a bottle of malt, its got to be worth it!
(Ok, and I intend running for those guys coming back from Iraq and Afgahnistan with only half the number of legs they should have. So, failure isn't an option.)
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Old 16th Nov 08, 11:04 PM
Catalina Catalina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Relaxed View Post
Ok, I've been obssesed by this ever since Cat posted it.
It sounds just the kind of thing I'd like to do. But it does sound a tad difficult...
So, first thing, a phone call to my brother, ex-forces, for the lowdown on just how hard this P Company thing is. Not an encouraging response..
"Bottom line. You've no chance mate! You're too old. And If you fancy a wager, are we talking a bottle of malt whisky here..?"

Hmm, well in view of that kind of talk I decided the only thing to do is have a bash. So, this morning I had a go.
First thing, the weight. Up in the loft for my big Karrimor rucsac. No scales, so I filled a 20 kilo bucket of water, tipped a bit out then added spuds to the rucsac until it felt about the same.
Bloody heavy, actually.
Pair of lightweight hiking boots on, and off we go.
You know what? Its murder.
Big respect to anyone who's done this. I did four and a half miles, and I'm too slow by nine seconds a mile. So I've got to double my mileage, and get quicker.

But, hey for a bottle of malt, its got to be worth it!
(Ok, and I intend running for those guys coming back from Iraq and Afgahnistan with only half the number of legs they should have. So, failure isn't an option.)

Mate, REALLY bad idea to start off with full weight. You WILL get injured.
You have to build the weight up gradually, & don't do loads with the bergen/boots.
You are making the classic mistake of doing too much too soon with full weight.
You shouldn't be going anywhere near a 35lb bergen yet.

General running, especially hills, slowly introducing a couple of bergen runs with LIGHT weights, is where you should be at.

You are not too old!!
You have 10 months to work towards this, but you need to get this right, or I guarantee we will find you on the "injuries" forum in a couple of weeks.

You need a good bergen, pref with a bit of lumbar support & padded straps.
Get it up HIGH on your shoulders, & pack it evenly.
There are training guides on the website, www.paras10.co.uk

I know that it feels impossible when you start.
I trained for weeks, & did 8 & 9 mile fell races with bergen & boots, & it nearly killed me.
Getting the right bergen, packed correctly, helps a lot. (But it will always hurt......)
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Old 17th Nov 08, 06:45 AM
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Man Relaxed Man Relaxed is offline
Real Name: Dave   Age: 55   Gender: Male  
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Thanks Catalina. Yeah, point well taken regarding carrying the weight. I don't really intend to start waltzing around with that on my back just yet. But I'm pretty sure that the largest part of this will be in the mind, and it was important to me to have a good idea that it is something that is possible, and in truth I was pleased with the outcome. It gave me some revealing insights of how I might approach this, geared to me personally.

If you don't mind, I'd like to keep picking your brains a bit!

Interesting comments regarding the Bergan. The one I have is a Karrimor Jaguar 75 litre, pretty much a military style one. But after trying to run with it I felt it wasn't really the best way of carrying the weight. Browsing the net for options, I came across this Lowe Alpine Contour Event 35 - OUTDOORSmagic Reviews which looks much more suitable. What do you think? Any technological edge I can get, I'm going to take.

What's the reasoning behind getting the load high on the shoulders? That's opposite to how I was thinking.

Any thoughts on the best type of boots to use for running? I wear heavy safety boots all day in my job, which is a bonus, so my feet and calves are conditioned in that respect.

Can you clear up a point regarding the weight? On the website FAQ it contradicts itself. First it says the bergan must be 'packed with 35lbs of equipment' (i.e. whole weight carried to be weight of bergan + an additional 35lbs), then on the next line it says 'bergan size and shape is irrelevant, but weight must be 35lbs' (i.e, whole weight carried to be weight of bergan and load together = 35lbs) Which is it?

No doubt I'll think of other questions! Appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 17th Nov 08, 10:39 AM
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AndyMan_Inc AndyMan_Inc is offline
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Location: Salisbury, Wiltshire
 
Hi Dave,

I'm sure Catalina won't mind me jumping in to offer some advice on this subject as during my time in the Army I did plenty of yomps across Dartmoor, competed in the Nijmegan Marches for 6 years and several other competition marches so may be able to help in this area.

As you are probably aware with any heavy load on your back there is a tendency to walk/run with your trunk leaning forward. Any weight placed on the back causes the center of gravity to shift so the body naturally compensates by leaning forward which, over a prolonged period, can lead to harmful stress on the spine and spinal muscles.

The optimum positioning as Catalina has said is high on the shoulders using adjustable shoulder straps to position the back pack over the upper rib cage, not on the low back. Use a waist strap, if available, to help disperse the load of the backpack otherwise if not distributed evenly in the bergan you may experience muscle spasms trying to hold the pack up, again leading to stress related injuries on the opposite side.

Remember though padded straps should be used where possible because of the constant rubbing and friction the straps can cause through your clothing.

Boots are equally important and should be of a lightweight, breathable design which will also provide sufficent support to the ankle. I have a pair of Magnums which have never let me down. Remember though that you should be wearing thicker socks with them and after a distance your feet will swell so going another half to one size up is recommended. I learnt that lesson after I lost several toe nails due to the pressure of the boot caused by them being too small magnums are expensive but well worth the investment for this type of thing.

The correct equipment will make your run/march so much easier and more enjoyable believe me
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Old 17th Nov 08, 12:38 PM
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Man Relaxed Man Relaxed is offline
Real Name: Dave   Age: 55   Gender: Male  
Location: Nottinghamshire
 
Hi Andy, Thanks for that, hey that's great. Actually I do own a pair of desert Magnums, and I know the military swear by them and they are a nice boot but unfortunately when I wear them I end up with blisters the size of eggs for some reason, even if I just walk to the shops! They just don't suit my feet, which is a shame. So I think its a case of shop around for something similar that I like.

I did experience what you're talking about regarding the muscle spasms trying to hold the load in place, which is when I twigged how crucial load management was going to be! Interesting. Time for some experimentation.

(And hey Catalina, your maths is off! By my calculation 35lbs is 15.8kilos, not 18. So I've got a bonus already!)
Anyway, my entry's in, so I'm committed now, and looking forward to it.
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Old 17th Nov 08, 01:57 PM
Catalina Catalina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Relaxed View Post
.

(And hey Catalina, your maths is off! By my calculation 35lbs is 15.8kilos, not 18. So I've got a bonus already!)

.
Yeah, I don't know why I put 18, I meant 16 kg......

Any advice I got on this race, which wasn't much, was from the horses mouth, ie a senior PTI at Catterick, & even the OC P Coy.

They allow waist straps, but these are cut off for actual Para recruits.

The weight of the bergen is 35 lbs in total. So as long as it tips that weight on the scales you'll be ok.
If you make up the weight with some water, & then drink it, you'll be disqualified, as bergens are weighed afterwards too!!

As for boots, well I used a pair of 25 HiTech hiking boots, & I was thrilled with them.
They offer a bit of ankle support, which they must do for the race, & were really comfortable.
I've done fell races in them & they are fine.

Andy is your man for military advice, especially boots & stuff.
I just got a bit of info from people at Catterick, as I'm looking to do a documentary down there, I don't have any military experience!
But I've done the race, so can tell you about the course!

Just be careful!
You really did give the impression you were loading up with full weight & doing miles & miles whan you'd not used a bergen before.
Took me 3 months before I attempted the Round Hill 9 mile fell race with full weight!

Go for it though!
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Old 17th Nov 08, 03:50 PM
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Man Relaxed Man Relaxed is offline
Real Name: Dave   Age: 55   Gender: Male  
Location: Nottinghamshire
 
Blimey, they cut the waist straps off for the recruits? Wow.
Ok on the bergan weight, that's what I suspected, just the website that's a bit misleading.

Yeah, there's plenty of time I know. Too much actually! Wish it was a bit closer, but still. I'll be back for a lowdown on the course a bit nearer the time. Cheers.
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