Staff Sergeant Anthony Burrell has crossed the finish line this morning, having completed all the Army’s fitness tests in 24 hours in a challenge that also saw him run 58 miles wearing the Army’s latest Virtus body armour.
Forty-year-old Anthony, of the Royal Logistic Corps and a Physical Training Instructor in the Army Engagement Group (AEG), began his challenge at 0930 yesterday at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, running via Deepcut, Pirbright and Aldershot gymnasiums to the finish line at Army HQ.
The personal challenge was two-fold as Anthony aimed to demonstrate the flexibility of the new body armour, which rolls out later this year, whilst raising money for ABF the Soldiers’ Charity, a charity close to his heart.
Anthony was met at the finish line by his family, friends and Army Headquarters staff, who cheered him in. “My support team got me through it, and knowing my family were going to be at the end,” he said. “Words can’t explain how I feel right now. I’ve got my family here. I’m just very, very proud.
“I went through a bit of a rough stage with my feet. I was moaning about two blisters on my little toes. I said to one of the guys, ‘can I borrow your toes?’ I went through a bit of a low. I received a message from one of my friends who lost a limb in Afghanistan and it made me just think; two blisters, really? Keep moving.”
Anthony, from Birmingham, said. “Having served in the army for 14 years, I’ve lost comrades. Some of them have been seriously injured. What better way to give back to such an amazing charity? Fitness is what I enjoy. I’ve been training since January. I’ve done over 400 miles in training, and I’ve done over 100 miles training in the Virtus kit.”
Virtus is an integrated body armour, helmet and load carriage system. It provides a generic soldier architecture upon which all future soldier systems will be based and interoperable with.
Anthony praised the new kit, saying: “The Virtus is outstanding, no problems with it at all. It’s not rubbed any part of my back. It’s very comfortable. I’m sure all the troops will be looking forward to getting it. It is outstanding.”
The Army fitness tests Anthony completed were:
Operational fitness tests 1-6, AFT, PFA, MST in the following order:
2 min treading water 200 metre swim,
2 min press-ups 2 minutes sit-ups / 1.5 mile run in trainers and sports kit,
12.4 miles carrying 30 kgs,
5 mile carrying 20 kgs,
8 mile carrying 15 kgs,
3 mile carrying 25 kgs,
2 mile carrying 20 kgs,
3 mile carrying 15 kgs,
12.4 mile carrying 20 kgs,
10 mile carrying 20 kgs.
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