15 May Lanyard Trophy – A participants point of view
The winning Mixed Team were interviewed about this years Lanyard Trophy, they told us about their preparation and what it was like to be on the winning team!
Full Name: Katie Constable
Role in the Signals: Troop Commander/ One Pip Wonder on “Troopies Course”
What and how they trained for the event? We had a good mix of morning sessions, including circuits, track sessions and flexibility, which defiantly prevented my body falling apart in the later weeks! We conducted all our tabbing on Wednesday sports afternoons, initially as a large group and the we broke down into our teams once they had been selected.
How did they maintain morale? Dartmoor is a horrible beast of an area, it all looks the same, its boggy and terrible underfoot, and is a master at sapping moral! This tested every single group member and during checkpoint 6-7, I believe, we all entered the hurt locker at the same time which is not ideal! Our awful dad jokes from team members helped, as well as good admin support from the checkpoints, but a lot of mental strength was also needed throughout.
What were the biggest challenges and how did they overcome them? Due to the fact that 11th Signal Regiment is a training establishment, trade comes first. This did mean that our training times were restricted and could only sneak away to Dartmoor for a quick recce for 48hrs. This did prove detrimental on the day as several teams overtook us due to better route selection. The biggest challenge was losing a team member, and at such an early stage of the competition, always a hard call to make.
Exploit talent among young soldiers? Lanyard is an excellent competition that brings out everyone’s team spirit and leadership. Due to the course being extremely demanding, everyone will dip into the hurt locker at some stage allowing others to naturally step up. Sig Gurung really demonstrated this during checkpoint 9 to the finish line, he could see that some members were struggling and continued to encourage them to the finish.
Proud to leadership the winning team! The whole team played an equal part in winning the event, with everyone digging out blind throughout. It really showed mental strength, physical robustness and determination from all. A great Easter present and a well deserved beer for all the hard work everyone put in over the last couple of months.
Full Name: Anil Gurung
Role in the Signals: Phase 2
What and how they trained for the event? We almost did two months training for this event. In the beginning we trained as whole regiment, but as the competition drew closer we were split into our teams and trained together until the event. There was a mix of tabbing and circuits to build up our physical strength and for navigation we got lesson from 4 squadron staff.
How did they maintain morale? In our team we all had individual responsibilities, mine was as the PTI, I was responsible for the warm ups and cool downs of all our teams sessions. The main motivator for myself was Easter leave straight after the event.
What were the biggest challenges and how did they overcome them? During the event one of our members dropped out at Check Point 3. We faced many challenges during the 40 miles but were able to overcome them because of our team work. We always looked out for each other, showing 100% effort and determination.
How does the army help when undertaking events ie. Team spirit/leadership? Such event really helped in developing my leadership, team spirit and physical strength. As a Signaller I learnt a lot about navigation, leadership, and many more from my Team Captain and Senior.
Full Name: Hayley “Willo” Wilson
Role in the Signals: Installation technician re-trader/re-joiner
What and how they trained for the event? We did regimental Lanyard training 3 times a week and a training weekend in Dartmoor.
How did they maintain morale? Moral was kept high by mine and Chris’s amazing list of jokes. Also imagining winning the event and going on leave afterwards “getting a warm shower and having a drink!
What were the biggest challenges and how did they overcome them? Challenges included committing to training whilst being on course, balancing both Lanyard and trade training. Only getting a weekend to know the ground and the area. Other challenges included things such as Mr Blobby hands and wardrobe malfunction. We lost a member of the team early on due to injury which would be unsustainable for the whole event and ground. This was upsetting to the whole team as we wanted to finish as a full team as we have gelled so well together. It was also a very long and arduous event with every member going in and out the hurt locker with moral dropping. This made it hard to maintain pace and drive with 14 Signal Regiment just behind us.
How does the army help when undertaking events ie. Team spirit/leadership? This was where the younger Phase Two junior soldiers really shone and showed great leadership skills and drive encouraging the rest of team. I felt we had a brilliant team and we all worked well together and got along really well. On the day this showed as we managed to win the event in our category.
Full Name: Chris Crolla
Role in the Signals: Troop Corporal
What and how they trained for the event? The training was pretty tough with a lot of it being in our own time, early mornings and TABs for sports afternoons. Tuesday mornings were normally a circuit or track sessions where as Fridays were runs or track sessions. We did TABs on Wednesdays, starting off on shorter TABs and over a few months, building up the weight, distance and endurance to 20 miles. Most of our training was done as a Regiment but towards the end we were split down and trained in teams. Unfortunately being a training Regiment we were unable to get much time down at Dartmoor like the other units but we did get one weekend which put us at a disadvantage. We went to Dartmoor on Mothers Day weekend to do a route recce covering approx 24 miles. The last couple of weeks of training were focused on flexibility, so we did yoga, stretching and steady state runs.
How did they maintain morale? The event itself was one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I have done in my service. There were multiple times I wanted to quit but the team got me through. We talked and laughed with each other to keep morale.
What were the biggest challenges and how did they overcome them? Losing one of our team members due to injury was devastating after all that training and hard work the by whole team. Hopefully next year they will re-enter Lanyard Trophy and smash it.
14 Signal Regiment were on our tail between Check Point 5 and 6 and managed to overtake us but we managed to get in front again after Check Point 8 thanks to the great command and leadership from the team Capt and SNCO as well as the grit from every team member. We ran all the way in from Check Point 10 which was tough as the ground was rocky and hard. I have learnt a lot about myself and I am very proud of our whole team for the drive and determine that was shown.
Full Name: Sandeep Thapa Magar
Role in the Signals: Class 3 Communication System Engineer Phase 2
What and how they trained for the event? I was inspired to do the Lanyard Trophy by my section commander Cpl Rajen Bura during my Phase One Infantry training in Catterick. As soon as I got in Blandford and we were informed by our troops about Lanyard training, I got involved in it.
The training was going good and then unfortunately I had to go to Nepal due to my compassionate case. All my hopes of competing for Lanyard Trophy this year were diminishing, but the Troop Corporal and Sergeant Major kept motivating me, giving me the morale courage to continue. Luckily my fitness level could match the ongoing training and cover the training that I had missed. The team was always made sure I was OK after each Lanyard training session and I felt that I was well looked after. The training progressed and we trained as a Regiment for up to 14 miles tab.
The next part of the training was team training where the teams would be separated in groups and had individual team SOPs.
How did they maintain morale? All the things we did during our training added up and we were fully confident. We were always motivated and inspired during every team training session and we had a winning mentality. There were times when we felt that we had lost it but our team leaders kept motivating us and we kept pushing each other. We looked after each other well, helped each other and moreover had our admins sorted out well and gave our best efforts till the finishing line.
The next part of the training was team training where the teams would be separated in groups and had individual team objectives. The team that I was part of was a very good team, we focused equally on fitness and navigation. We knew that the longer tabs might really cause mental exhaustion, so each an every individual team member was assigned a role/job. We had our own team Physical Training Instructor, a Morale officer, a Morale 2IC, a Recce party (during the training ) and someone in charge of Food! So, all of us were involved and had respective inputs towards the team. Our training in the later stage was based on recovery and flexibility. So we did yoga sessions, swimming and even a few cheeky sauna baths during the later stage.
How does the army help when undertaking events ie. Team spirit/leadership? It was a very fruitful experience which gave me loads of military knowledge and helped a lot with my personal development.
Full Name: Tom Davies
Role in the Signals: Re-trade Electronic Warfare Operator
What and how they trained for the event? Started training for Lanyard Tophy in January three times a week with 11 Signal Regiment. With two early morning circuit sessions and a TAB mid week, these progressively got harder and more intense the closer to the event we got.
How did they maintain morale? When we were then put into our teams, it didn’t take long for everyone to bond and imagine us crossing the finish line together, this made it easier for morale to stay high.
What were the biggest challenges and how did they overcome them? Getting up some early mornings were the biggest challenge. For me personally, getting in the team was a huge achievement after suffering from a bad illness prior to the training and it was just what I needed to get myself fit.
Unfortunately on the day I suffered an injury early on in the event and had to retire from the race, but I managed to see the team cross the finish line, which was fantastic to see the team I was part of win and they deserved every bit of it.