RAF WARMA Cosford 2 day march
By Cpl Nick Marwood - 2357 (Goole) Squadron
On Friday the 27th April 2012 P/O Hillam, CPL Hallas and myself travelled down with the rest of the South and west Yorkshire team to RAF Cosford, we were there to complete the RAF WARMA (walking and road marching association) 50 mile qualifying march, completion of this event would allow P/O Hillam and I to progress on to complete the Nijmegen march in Holland in July.
Upon arriving at the event on the Friday night we had issues with the male accommodation, there wasn’t any room to sleep.
By the time 11:30 came we had called it enough and pitched our sleeping bags in the admin tent and went to sleep ready for the next day’s march.
On the Saturday morning we were all woken up at 4:30 giving the males just 5 hours sleep, we got into our DPM’s and went for breakfast, trying to ft as much on our plates to keep up going throughout the days marching.
After breakfast we filled our water bottles and moved our kit to the rooms we had now being allocated.
When all admin and feet taping had being completed we fell in on the parade square and raised the Yorkshire rose up high.
At 0700 we started the March day 1.
It started with a short 6 mile leg; spirits were high and songs loud.
Half way through this leg 1 member of the team fell ill and was unable to complete the day.
So we ditched his weight and carried him on to the next check point.
The members from Goole were in full song and spirit with P/O Hillam leading most songs, this was the story for the rest of day.
Upon passing other groups the singing got louder and in some cases (Army cadet groups) quite humours.
At the end of the day on mile 24 we stopped off for an ice cream break, much to the envy of passing teams.
The marching went on and on for a long 27 miles, Including a 3 mile stint along a perfectly strait and very boring canal.
However the team made it and were back at base for some much needed tea and showers. After a very early night we woke at 0400, once gin got ready and went for breakfast, after sleeping with elevated feet we could once again finally feel them.
At 0700 we set of the 23 mile day.
We knew from the start moods were going to be down as it was raining constantly and showed no signs f letting up.
The first leg of the day was a long and challenging 9mile stint.
This drained the team’s moral and it was P/O Hillam once again leading the songs and keeping the team going that pulled us trough.
At the first check point we lost another member of the team due to hypothermia.
We were luck as other teams had more numbers drop out and in some cases full teams were just dropping out of the event.
After a drink and rest we set off on the rest of the day.
The rain was so constant that the water proofs people were wearing stopped being water proof and just drenched everyone.
By the 3rd leg, a reasonable short 5 mile, everyone was feeling the pain and was down.
I myself struggled to even walk due to my legs tightening and becoming barley moveable.
P/O Hillam was struggling due to having to carry his 10kg weight for the first time and it weighing his shoulders down.
However CPL Hallas remained a solid machine and showed no signs of pain and just soldered through the day.
The team bond and motivation kept us going through the pain, as well as the many pain killers.
After the final mile we entered the main gates of RAF Cosford, marching instep and with heads held high we completed the final 100m and completed the weekend.
Not wanting to delay our legs some rest we went straight to the accommodation and packed our bags and hoped on the bus home.
P/O Hillam and I will be represent S+W Yorkshire in the Nijmegen 100 mile march, unfortunately CPL Hallas is too young to enter this year but will be there next year.