3 hills later, I was not popular…

2Lt Sam Westlake

2Lt Sam Westlake

Second Lieutenant Sam Westlake blogs from the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, about his final day of “beat up” on P Company – the arduous Parachute Regiment qualification training course. Next week is test week…

“The Paras’ 10” is an internationally-recognised annual endurance event that will host 4,000 athletes this year (this year’s event takes place on 11 September).  For us, it was just another day on P Company.  The 10-miler on the final day of beat-up takes you up all the big hills in Catterick in 1 hour 50 minutes. As always we were carrying weapons, 37lbs – and injuries.  This was a big test for us all after yesterday’s fun in “The Land of Nod”.  Throughout the tab I could see men who were usually strong struggle.  Tabbing technique went out the window for some at times and they were constantly shuffling to keep up with the man in front.  It’s important to keep swinging your rifle and avoid running on the up-hills or you’ll find that eventually you’ll burn out.  The P Company staff  remind you in their distinctive way whenever required…

Because I spent a few weeks in Catterick training in preparation for the course, I now know the area pretty well.  With this in mind I thought I could work out the route of The Paras’ 10 and when we would be heading home.  I was incorrect.  On a couple of occasions, blokes asked me: “are we nearly there yet?” and “how much further?” Optimistically I responded: “one more hill lads and then we’re heading back in!”  3 hills later, I was not popular… Nonetheless, those whom I misguided still made it round.

Beat-up finishes here, and there is nothing in the afternoon.  We have gone from 51 down to 27 in 2 weeks and many are carrying injuries – shin splints, sprained ankles, swollen knees, etc.  Despite this, spirits are high and the three squads are confident about the upcoming Test Week.  On day 2 of the course, the OC briefed us on what was to come and said that we may even enjoy P Company.  At the time I thought this impossible but it turns out that the 10 days of training has actually been rewarding and, dare I say it, fun.  There’s no doubt that you’ll feel physically degraded and mentally drained by this point in the course but you’ll also find yourself well conditioned and quietly confident.  Getting the training right in the build up to P Company is not easy but from what I’ve seen, of the 24 men who have come off the course, many conducted long and intense pre-beat-ups.  Similarly, there are fit individuals still on the course who are feeling the negative effects of over-training.  It seems you can overdo it.

3 thoughts on “3 hills later, I was not popular…

  1. Sam, rewards r coming. Do ur best. Always double the length of time expect wen askd how much…that way they’ll b surprised X

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  2. I have submitted my information and since then have not receive any information from u,pls am still expecting the call

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