A new sport derived from military obstacle courses is increasingly being used to support forces charities.

Challenges like Tough Mudder and Spartan races have only been around since 2010, but they've found a healthy audience among those looking for extreme challenges in the name of fundraising.

Obstacle course races (OCR), which see dozens of hardcore competitors running, climbing and crawling their way through miles of dirt, are growing in popularity among civilians and military personnel.

Spartan race

Competitors must overcome trails designed to push them to their mental and physical limits, with the new Spartan Race near Market Harborough (above) no exception.

Among the military charities benefiting from this event is Scotty's Little Soldiers.


It was founded in 2010 by Army widow Nikki Scott, with the aim of supporting bereaved forces youngsters. She said:

"I love it when people from the services or veterans get involved because it just means so much more.

"For them to get involved and do fundraising and support Scotty's means a lot to me personally and to the charity", she added.

Army Cadet Force instructor Michael Nolan said: "I'm trying to push myself as hard as I can.

"It's the morale [that I enjoy about the sport]. Everyone getting involved, helping everyone else, no-one gets left behind. If there's an injury, people stop and help the person."

Teams from the RAF, the Royal Tank Regiment and the Army took part in this race.

The organisers, however, are also hoping that OCR's growing popularity in Britain will follow that of the United States - where the links to the military have led to competitions taking place on actual bases.

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