Man pushes body to limit in gruelling military challenge for charity

Darren Somerville with his completion pack after finishing the Loadstone challenge.
Darren Somerville with his completion pack after finishing the Loadstone challenge.
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A man from Portsmouth took part in a military challenge to raise money for a leading national charity.

Darren Somerville signed up for The Special Forces Experience Winter Series in Wales, raising more than £1,000 for Cancer Research UK.

The event was part of the television show SAS – Who Dares Wins, where contestants from the show go head-to-head with war veterans in the latest military-themed series, Loadstone.

The course consisted of three timed weighted events in the Clwydian Range in north Wales and Brecon Beacons in south Wales.

Mr Somerville said the event was important to him because his mum died from cancer when he was 10 years old.

He said: ‘Cancer Research UK means a lot to me and the response I’ve got has been great.’

Mr Somerville nearly gave up the challenge during the boot camp stage but was spurred on by thinking about his mother.

‘After waking up at 6am, we did a range of training excercises without warning – including press-ups, sit-ups, and crawls.

‘My body was on fire, my tongue was hanging out my head, and I wanted some water, but I was encouraged to keep going even though I threatened to walk away.’

The course consisted of the SF10 race which Mr Somerville described as the ‘hardest event I had ever done’, as the winds hit 70mph.

‘The weather was terrible, I was wet through the rain and I pushed my body way beyond my limits,’ he said.

The final event was the point-to-point challenge, a 28km run across the Brecon Beacons. Although Mr Somerville felt confident at first, disaster struck.

He said: ‘I was out of control sliding down the side of a mountain.

‘I have no idea how fast I was travelling but within seconds a tree was approaching fast – it’s going to be a head- on collision!

‘I just missed a boulder but I wasn’t in pain.

‘Because of the severe weather, I was 16 minutes away from getting the bronze medal.’