Stretcher Race

In the morning, Steve’s legs had stiffened and he hobbled over for breakfast. After stretching to loosen off, he lined up for the next event. He was looking forward to the assault course. Standing next to another recruit, a sergeant shouted “Go!!!”. Steve sprinted to the vertical netting and raced up and over the other side. In between each short run was an obstacle, from climbing ropes, to brick walls and wooden beams. He reached the end gasping for breath and was sure he finished in a good time.

After a short break, the recruits ran to the start of the steeplechase event. This was a timed event running around a cross-country course containing a number of obstacles. On Steve’s turn, he sprinted to each obstacle which could involve clambering over a structure of logs or jumping into pools of water and out the other side. He reached the end near the lead and lined up at the edge of a forest. He noticed steam rising from the heads of the other recruits in the cold air.

Steve slept well that night and woke feeling refreshed. After food, the recruits were split into teams of eight for the next event, which was carrying a heavy metal stretcher over open countryside. It was a hard event and renowned for a high failure rate. The recruits were further sub-divided into pairs, so each man could take turns running on the stretcher while the other carried two rifles. As soon as the race started, recruits began to fall. But Steve’s team remained full for most of the course. Initially, the weight of the stretcher was a shock to him, but he endured the pain and pushed on. Then Steve’s partner collapsed and dropped out so Steve needed to do the work of two men. Somehow, he managed to stay on the stretcher, as well as carrying two rifles, to the finish line.

Copyright © 2022 Callum Stanford.  All rights reserved.

Author: callumstanford

Writer, blogger, outsider, survivor.

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