Soldiers Complete Charity Doko Race For NHS

The doko race is a key part of the Gurkha recruitment process.

Personnel at the Army Training Centre in Pirbright have taken part in a special challenge to raise funds for their local NHS trust.

After watching the remarkable fundraising efforts of Captain Sir Tom Moore, Corporal Dikendra Gurung decided to organise a doko race.

The infamous test forms a key part of the selection criteria for Gurkha recruits in Nepal.

Participants are required to carry 15 kilogrammes in a bamboo basket, secured by a headstrap, uphill for five kilometres within 50 minutes.

Corporal Gurung told Forces News he sees "similarities" between NHS staff who have been fighting the pandemic and Army soldiers. 

"During the time in Afghanistan, we were in the frontline fighting with the visible enemy," he said.

"Currently, the NHS staff [are] in the frontline fighting with the invisible enemy.

"I can understand the effort they're putting [in] to save our lives."

While some of those taking part had experienced a doko race before, it was a new experience for many others.

"It's a massive strain on the neck muscles and I don't recommend it," Corporal Matthew Smith said.

British Army soldiers Doko Race in UK for NHS trust support 230720 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
The personnel raised money for the NHS during the gruelling challenge.

He also described his Nepali colleagues as the "toughest blokes I've ever met".

Lieutenant Emilio Lemonaris said: "I don't think I've got a strong enough neck, so I used it [the head straps] mainly on my back.

"It was hard going up the hills, if I'm honest, and it's different because the weight isn't so secure as it would be in a burgen, for instance." 

The Army Training Centre in Pirbright was closed during lockdown.

It is now fully open again, although its intake has been halved so social distancing measures can be followed.

Earlier this month, soldiers based at Imjin Barracks in Gloucestershire also took part in a unique version of a doko race - virtually climbing the height of the world's three tallest peaks.