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Soldiers set world record for most number of countries crossed on foot

Three soldiers from the Military Provost Staff (MPS) Regiment have set a world record for the greatest number of countries visited on foot in a week.

Sgt Damian Isaac, 39, Sgt Simon Wright, 39, and Sgt Kelson St Rose, 47, are all Detention Specialists at the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) in Colchester. 

But they were given time off from their duties supervising the detention of military offenders to take on the Guinness world record challenge.

The troops aimed to cross six countries in seven days.

On Sunday 24 September, the three soldiers started their European trek on foot in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

They then crossed into Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria before finishing their marathon walk in Slovakia on Sunday 1 October.

Team leader Sgt Damian Isaac said,

We wanted to do something arduous to get in the Guinness World Records, something that we would have to train for and be able to say, ‘We earned that." Sgt Damian Isaac

"We wanted to do something arduous, rather than something quirky, to get in the Guinness World Records, something that we would have to train for and be able to say, ‘We earned that.’"

“All three of us are keen travellers so this seemed like a good challenge. Guinness told us that if we cross six countries by foot in a week that will set a world record."

"We walked over 30 miles each day for 14 to 16 hours."

“We needed witnesses so booked two drivers, who were approved by Guinness, with a motorhome that met us at various checkpoints for food and clothing changes."

“We slept in the motorhome most nights apart from two nights when we had hotels booked so we could get a shower and a decent night’s sleep."

“We had to send GPS data, a map of the route we followed with planned stops, a log book with the two witness statements, and provide photos and videos."

“To train for this challenge we all took longer walks to work. So, for instance, I was getting up three hours earlier, walking several miles around Colchester to get to the MCTC then taking three to four hours to walk between 12 and 18 miles back home."

“We also met up three times and built up from four to eight to 12-hour walks.”

The Military Provost Staff (MPS) Regiment are the Armed Forces Detention Specialists providing custody and detention, advice, inspection and quality assurance within custodial establishments.

For soldiers found guilty of breaking military or civilian law, a sentence at the MCTC awaits.

The MPS Regiment is under the direct command of the Provost Marshal (Army) and is mainly based at the MCTC in Colchester, and at service custody facilities throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. From these locations, MPS personnel regularly deploy in support of operations.

The MPS also provide operational detention subject matter expert advice on exercises and deployments, with staff currently in Estonia, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands as well as providing short term training teams to Zambia and Malawi.

The MCTC recently featured in a three-part documentary series on Channel 5, ‘Court Martial: Soldiers Behind Bars’.

The MPS is currently recruiting Detention Specialists and is looking for a distinctive set of skills, ideally skills acquired over several years in a military career.

More widely, the British Army is recruiting right now to fill 10,000 jobs across the UK with more than 200 roles to choose from, covering everything from frontline combat and cyber security to helicopter pilots, chefs and support roles. If you’re aged 16 to 50 and if you want to find out more about a career in the Army, click here.