IT’S going to be a tough challenge which only the hardiest will be able to complete.
But a 103-mile (166.4km) South Downs Way trek is a fitting tribute to the Royal Marines it will be raising funds for.
In October it will be 350 years since the elite force was created and to mark it former Royal Marine Robin Hollington has come up with a fundraising idea.
In 2011 Robin, from Stroud near Petersfield, completed the yomp in memory of his son Royal Marine Richard Hollington, who became the 300th servicemen to be killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
His family have raised a huge amount of money for charities over the years but now they are turning their attention to the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and, if they are successful, will raise more than £280,000.
Robin, who is now an IT expert, said of the Since 1664 challenge, ‘Having yomped non-stop across the South Downs in 2011 in memory of Richard, my experience is that over 90 per cent of this challenge is fought in the head.
‘At the end of the day, all you have to do is be able to walk a maximum of three miles in an hour which is a fairly leisurely pace.
‘It’s doing it again and again, hour after hour that’s the challenge. Oh, and in the dark can be a bit tricky too!’
A yomp is Royal Marines slang for a long-distance march carrying full kit.
The force is famous for its camaraderie and Robin hopes that will come to the fore during the yomp.
He said: ‘This time it’s hopefully going to be much bigger in terms of yompers – 166 plus 4 versus approximately 20 people last time.
‘It’s a little longer, it stands to raise significantly more money and, whilst we might be persuaded to repeat the event in the future, it will never again be part of RM350.’
He has created a walk that is almost exactly 166.4km and he is hoping at least 170 people will take part with everyone raising £1,664.
Since 1664 is taking place over the weekend of June 7 and 8. It begins in Winchester and finishes in Eastbourne.
East Hampshire MP Damien Hinds added his support. He said: ‘It is a great way not only to mark 350 years of the Royal Marines Since 1664, but hopefully to raise a considerable sum of money for the important work of the RMCTF.’
Find out more at since1664.com.