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 Officers take on Royal Marine style-challenge for charity


​A group of Durham Constabulary’s police officers are set to raise thousands of pounds for charity when they take on a military-grade Royal Marine-style challenge.

The Cops 30 miler will see participants tackle a 30 mile “yomp” across the rugged Northumberland countryside, whilst carrying over 32lbs in a backpack, with a target time of under 8 hours.

It is regarded as so tough that fewer than half who set off are expected to finish and it closely replicates the final commando test that Royal Marines recruits must complete to earn the coveted Green Beret.

This was the first event of its kind when it was set up by DCI Lee Gosling of Durham Constabulary, and fellow serving officer Inspector Simon Guilfoyle, of Staffordshire Police, in 2016 and is the only one officially endorsed by the Royal Marines.

It raises money for the Royal Marines Charity and the Care of Police Survivors (COPS).

Up to 50 men and women will set off from near Kirknewton, in Northumberland, in the early hours of Saturday, September 14 but as to how many will complete the challenge it remains to be seen.

Due to the intense and challenging nature of the event in the three previous years, fewer than 50 per cent have managed to complete it.

DCI Gosling, who has completed the course on his two previous attempts, said: “There is no doubt about the gruelling nature of this event. It wasn’t designed to be easy because if it was everyone would be doing it.

“This replicates as closely as it can the final of four Commando tests Royal Marines recruits must successfully complete in a week to become a Commando.

“We knew it would be intense and challenging but the last three years have confirmed it with the number of people who have made it to the end.

“It really will push people to their physical and mental limits.

“The ethos of the event is very much in-line with the Royal Marines emphasis on teamwork and on the commando spirit.

“Every individual will have a reason for taking part and many don’t know each other when they start but it is the courage, determination, selflessness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity that ensures people achieve their goals.”

The event has so far raised more than £40,000 for the Care of Police Survivors and The Royal Marines Charity.

Durham officers DCI Lee Gosling, Insp Kev Salter, Sgt Sam Turner, Sgt Jamie Gray, DC Liam Robertson, DC Chris Robinson, DC Gary Davison, DC Andy Davison, DC Michael Hogg and PC Mark Outhwaite are all preparing to tackle the challenge together.

In addition, actor Will Bowden, German police officer Angelika Werner, together with members of the public and ex-Royal Marines will also be hoping to complete the course.

Insp Guilfoyle added: “Lee and I wanted to create a unique and extreme endurance event for charity. The Royal Marines were quick to get on board with the idea and transform it into the full-on and unique event which exists today.

“To run alongside serving Royal Marines whilst raising funds for two extremely worthwhile charities is both one of the toughest challenges imaginable but also an incredible privilege. Previous years have proven to be memorable and we expect this to be no different.”

COPS chief executive Tim Buckley said: “The Cops 30 miler is a tough, one of a kind challenge.

“We wish all participants the very best of luck this year. A huge thank you to you all for supporting COPS and our work.

“We really appreciate the hard work and training you have put in to prepare for this event.

“By raising money for COPS, you are helping us to continue our work in supporting the families of police officers and staff who have lost their lives on duty.”

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