A female officer from Grantham commences on her journey across the Pennine Way as she aims to complete one of the world’s toughest endurance events, the 268-mile Montane Spine Race.
Brigadier Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Faithfull-Davies, who is Commander 102 Logistic Brigade based in Grantham, is taking on the challenge across the remote trails within the Peak District and hopes to complete this gruelling race in under the seven-day cut off point.
Speaking just before embarking on her trailblazing challenge, Brigadier Lizzie said: “This race is on an iconic and remote trail that will challenge me both physically and mentally with the intensity and the added ferocity of a British winter on such an exposed route.
“I have been competing in ultra-running events for several years now and the real inspiration behind me signing up for the spine race was seeing a young female called Jasmine Parish go on to win this event a few years ago. She was truly inspiring and sowed the seed for me signing up.
“Preparing for this race is so much more than ensuring I am physically fit, training for an ultra-event is extremely difficult anyway, you have to spend hours out on the hills, walking and running, taking all your kit with you and ensuring your nutrition spot on.
“The spine race is going to be even more difficult than my usual ultra-races, being out in the hills for a possible seven-days means there is even more kit to carry and refuelling my body and hydration is even more important, if I were to get dehydrated on day one, it would be extremely difficult to recover.”
When talking further about the preparations and about her mental health Brigadier Lizzie said, “My mental health and wellbeing are extremely important in preparing and competing in this race, although I am competing alone, the people you are racing with are all like-minded and will help you through barriers you may not get through alone. It is very much like the buddy system within the Army, it’s about helping each other through our weak points.
“My Army Training has played a huge part in my preparation, it has helped me from planning how my kit is organised within my bag and ensuring I can find it in the pitch black of the night, to navigating my route and being out in all hours, reminds me so much of our training exercises.”
Brigadier Lizzie will endure difficult terrains in a race which numerous individuals don’t manage to complete, she said, “My number one ambition is to finish the race, it would be the most incredible achievement.
“Within my role I am aware I am visible to junior ranks, this race demonstrates how seriously I take sport and the love I have for it, I want our personnel to see that they can pursue activities they enjoy and are passionate about, regardless of the job they are in.”
“For our mental and physical wellbeing we need our own time and space to dive out of our comfort zones, challenge ourselves and follow our passions, I hope I am able to set the example that finding the time to do something for yourself is ok. As a Chain of Command we need to allow our soldiers the time to do this and set the example.”