Enduro7 Challenge at Ripon Waterside & Marina
7 extreme events over 7 days with no rest.
A British Army officer of 34 years is taking on a week of 24-hour endurance events across the North of England with no rest to raise funds and awareness for veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress. Major Simon 'Sip' Powers, Officer Commanding of 600 HQ Squadron, part of 6 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps at Dishforth, is leaving the forces this year on medical grounds and is dedicating his time to serving the charity Combat Stress.
The charity delivers specialist treatment and support to former servicemen and women with complex mental health issues – those who have several severe mental health conditions arising from military service. Major Powers has been planning the seven day 'Enduro7' endurance event for two years and it will finally take place following months of training on 28th June 2021. Each extreme event will last for 24 hours and will test Major Powers and his team’s physical and mental fortitude, with a target of raising £25,000 for Combat Stress.
Major Powers said: "The event has been designed to be exhausting, but also demonstrate the effects of dealing with mental illness. It will be a gruelling undertaking, but it is still nothing compared to what some of the men and women I have worked with are going through on a daily basis after they leave the armed forces."
Major Powers has worked with the Ministry of Defence’s Battle Back adaptive sport and adventurous training programme for wounded, injured and sick personnel for nine years, in partnership with Help For Heroes and The Royal British Legion. During this time, he has worked with hundreds of people who have been wounded in service, some of whom have continued to battle with their mental health after the programme and some have even taken their own lives.
Major Powers continued: "288 service personnel have taken their own lives over the last 10 years, which is double the previous decade and is a growing problem. I have been involved with Battle Back expeditions for this whole time period. At the start, when Afghanistan was raging, the participants were dealing with significant injuries such as missing limbs. On the last expedition I took part in, everyone was fully mobile, but they were equally as hurt and damaged as the first group through the impacts on their mental health."
"I have lost people close to me in this way. The forces do a terrific job of helping soldiers and other personnel whilst they are in the services, but the support available to them drops off a cliff when they leave. Combat Stress is the best charity I have seen which provides this essential support and it is vitally important that we raise its profile."
Enduro7 will see Major Powers and his support team undertake 24-hour challenges over the course of a week. All of these challenges will be completed without proper sleep. The only rest Major Powers will gain is during travel between the challenge locations. He will be joined by a team on the ground, who will take care of all administration tasks outside of completing the challenge, as well as joining Major Powers at intervals. The team will consist of Staff Sergeant Thomas Wilkinson, Lance Corporal Thomas Towers and Corporal Kane McCabe.
The team will also be joined for parts of the challenge by mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, who remains the first and only British person to claim all 14 Himalayan eight-thousand-foot mountains. Hinkes has links with the Royal Marines and will be with the team for the whole week. He said: "I will be having a go at a few of the events with Sip, but I won’t be doing them for 24 hours, that’s for sure. I am used to climbing and abseiling so I will be joining Sip on those events and I might also take part in the paddling and the biking too."
"Mental health is an increasing problem for veterans leaving the service, but also for civilians with the impacts of the pandemic still affecting us all. Combat Stress is an important charity which can help plug this gap in support and we all need to do our part to help raise its profile and some money through this event."
Day 6 | Canoe & Kayak
On Ripon Canal, Ripon
The penultimate day of Sip’s endurance challenge, day six will involve twenty-four hours of kayaking and open boating on a section of the Ripon Canal in North Yorkshire. The support team will be shadowing Sip all day and through the night, either from the bank or alongside in alternate craft. We hope to engage with the public and the media on this day, as Sip makes his final strides and strokes towards the finishing line on Sunday.
Watch Sip's emotional video with Combat Stress here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hYCSqxhc-E