Mud, glorious mud

Action from the Yorkshire Spartan Sprint. (Picture - Epic Action Imagery)
Action from the Yorkshire Spartan Sprint. (Picture - Epic Action Imagery)

Three thousand racers – including five super-fit Gurkha soldiers from Catterick Garrison – have taken part in a tough sporting challenge staged in Ripon.

The gruelling Yorkshire Spartan Sprint staged at Ellington Banks on Sunday, September 28, was a 5km cross-country race featuring 15 military-style obstacles and part of the Spartan Series of endurance events held across the country.

Dan Tuffnell, director of Spartan Race UK, said: “We were thrilled with this weekend – the atmosphere on the course was fantastic.

“We warmly welcome all our friends in the military, as well as the public at large, to take part in our next race – the Spartan Beast on October 11 in East Sussex, when the world’s top elite racers will be flying in from around the world to take part.”

Ellington Banks – a training area for Army cadets normally used by tanks, with hilly terrain, deep potholes and craters – proved the ideal setting for the endurance test as racers tackled 15ft rope climbs, slippery 7ft ramp scaling, spear target throwing, carrying sandbags up steep hills and barbed-wire mud crawls.

To finish, competitors had to scale 25ft-high cargo nets and leap through fire across blazing logs.

Watched on by 3,000 spectators, the five Gurkha soldiers – Cpl Nishan Rai, 24; L/Cpl Prabin Jabegu, 26; Pte Navin Rai, 27; L/Cpl Mukum Hembya, 23; and their team captain, L/Cpl Amar Gurung, 25 competing under their team name The Gurkha Warriors – finished the course in one hour and received an enthusiastic ovation from the crowd.

L/Cpl Gurung said: “We trained especially hard for this event and it turned out to be both very challenging and a lot of fun too.

“Staying fit and healthy is good for everyone whether they are from the military or civilians. It was very muddy out there today and we got wet but we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”

To find out more about taking part in the Spartan Series of races, which also includes 13 and 20km courses dubbed ‘Super’ and ‘Beast’ respectively, visit