The Army Pentathlon Team and members of the Great Britain squad were out in force at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for the 2018 Pent Up Challenge.
The Pent Up Foundation uses the sport of Modern Pentathlon as a means of therapy to aid military veterans in their recovery; the 5 disciplines that make up the event - swimming, fencing, riding, shooting and running - are designed to replicate the skills a soldier may need to survive on the front line.
It’s that strong military ethos that encouraged the Pent Up Foundation to use Modern Pentathlon as a means of sports therapy in its work supporting the recovery of Forces veterans with PTSD and psychological injury.
“It’s the military event at the Olympic Games,” Colonel Seb Pollington, Chairman of the Army Modern Pentathlon, told Forces News.
“The British Army in particular has such a very strong history. In 1976 the British Army team competing for Great Britain won gold at [the] Montreal [Olympics].”
The Pent Up Challenge now runs alongside the Army’s own Modern Pentathlon Championships.
The horse riding is perhaps the most technical discipline of the 5 sports. The attendance of Britain’s past and present pentathlon greats gave all those involved a boost, with Army receiving top flight coaching.
“So for me it’s very inspirational,” said Sergeant Sammy Langdon.
“What we’re doing is we’re trying to take all the experience and advice we can off them to help us with our own competition today.”
As the riding gave way to the final event of the competition, the Laser Run, this was a chance to catch up with one of those who has benefitted from the work of the Pent Up Foundation.
Steve Bingley served in the army for 25 years with multiple operational tours behind him. He cites the Pent Up Challenge as helping him turn his life around.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” he said.
“I’ve been doing it for two years now and I’ve made friends, they’ve invited me into their home. They’ve cried with me, they’ve laughed with me… We’re putting a uniform back on and we’re just having banter! And I think that’s what most people miss about the Army.”
The Pent up challenge is proving ever more popular and looks certain to be part of the Pentathlon calendar for seasons to come.