Fun in the sun as Army team take honours in RAFBF challenge

39 Engineers team first over the finishing line

THE SUN SHONE and all arrived at their destination safely in the second annual Cairngorm to Coast Challenge on behalf of the RAF Benevolent Fund on Saturday.

Following on from lessons learned at the 2015 event in which just a few finished the gruelling challenge, this year both participants and organisers were ready for what is recognised as a “tough but fair” challenge.

For the challenge this year, 41 competitors lined up at the start point – and all of them collected either a Gold or Bronze medal. Earning a gold meant taking on a 30k hike from Cairngorm to Grantown on Spey – followed by a 70k cycle ride onwards to the gates of RAF Lossiemouth.

To earn a Bronze medal, participants had to complete the 30k hike – a considerable challenge of its own in warm conditions when plenty of water and head protection was very much the order of the day.

Organised by Team RAFBF Lossiemouth in association with Outfit Moray and Bike Revolution, the event loaned much of its success to the many volunteers who ensured the day went smoothly and safely, alongside sponsors Dallas Designs, Windswept Brewing, Arnold Clark and Thales UK.

First past the post over the Gold route was a team from 39 Engineers at Kinloss Barracks while second place went to Kelvin Hirst, who would have finished in first place with his team – but for a couple of wrong turnings along the route. A total of 36 participants received Gold after completing the 100k course.

Five participants meanwhile stepped over the finishing line in the Bronze event – led by Callum Brown.

Kelvin Hirst – second over the line but only after taking a wrong turning!

Following months of intense work in preparing the event with her dedicated team, Karen Cox, Chair of Team RAFBF Lossiemouth said: “I’m incredibly proud and thrilled with the turnout and the extremely positive feedback we have had from everyone involved.

“Every competitor crossed the finish line beaming and rightly proud of their efforts – and the first team were around an hour ahead of their own schedule when they crossed the line shortly before 4.30pm.  I was particularly pleased for Kelvin who was entrant number 001 – and has been a very strong supporter of the event.  Had he not taken a wrong turning along the final stretch he would have won.

“The last competitor arrived home at 8pm and there were no injuries sustained along the way – although there were a few wrong turns taken!

“Any small knocks and pains that were suffered were very quickly and professionally dealt with by our Physios Mac Macgregor, Andrew Jones, Tony Boon and Roy Hunte.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part and all those who worked so hard to help organise the event, but in particular our Team Secretary, Mel Waters.”

More images and details of the Cairngorm to Coast can be found on their Facebook Page.