Alex Rees and Charlotte Spence retain crowns as British Army's fittest 'warriors'

The Army's Staff Sergeant Alex Rees and Staff Sergeant Charlotte Spence have successfully defended their titles at this year's British Army Warrior Fitness challenge, after topping the men's and the women's competitions respectively. 

Taking place on a rainy day in Aldershot, the challenge tests the all-around strength and stamina of its competitors with a unique blend of CrossFit style military events.

Organised by the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, the event consists of physical training courses as well as a military style assault course, which many soldiers from cap badges across the Army will be familiar with. 

Last year's champion, SSgt Rees, was quick to stamp his authority in the early stages whereas others succumbed to unforgiving conditions.

Maintaining his form throughout, he secured the top spot on the leaderboard to secure back-to-back titles.

The Pirbright-based PTI (physical training instructor) was keen to share his tips on how to succeed in the competition.

He said: "Preparation for a competition like this really comes down to working the basics and having that fundamental strength and endurance and making sure every day you're building on that base, ticking off the circuit movements to ensure that you are developing in some sort of way.

"But also, in addition to that, you would need to do specific exercises to ensure that when they come up in the competition, it doesn't sort of trip you up and it is not going to create that sort of fatigue. 

"So, I think the best-prepared people are usually the ones that have a solid base across the board with basic movements but then they also tick the boxes for anything specific, let's say the obstacle course or if we go swimming, they have done stuff to make sure that's not going to catch them out and that is really the guys that do really well."

After seeing off his fellow soldiers for the second time running, SSgt Rees is keen to take on members from the other services. 

He said: "There is encouragement from the Navy and the RAF to make this a tri-service event. "They run their own in-house competitions and we are currently trying to work on ways we can get a whole military or UK military competition going." 

By the time the women took to the course, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. That did not stop SSgt Charlotte Spence however, who faced stiff competition from her rival Lydia Hilson. A big push towards the finish, however, saw Spence defend her title. 

SSgt Spence is also keen to face competition outside the Army. She said: "Within the British Army Warrior Fitness this is our top level.

"Obviously, outside in the civilian environment yes you can go international and all the way up to competing in America for CrossFit Games but, essentially, that is not what we are here for it is very different here, this is the British Army Warrior Fitness, and this here is our pinnacle. 

"We have got the best athletes that have obviously entered this year within the Army and then if we opened it up to tri-services it would get even bigger. 

"If we had this and got to take on the American Army, for example, it would just be amazing," she added.

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