Our fundraisers are often intrepid in the ways they support Devon's two emergency Air Ambulances, and famously the Royal Marines Commando Challenge each October is one of the events for which our recruits need to be most cheerful, most intrepid and best prepared!

The event (this year on the weekend of 12/13 Oct 2019) raises important funds for both Devon Air Ambulance and RMA - The Royal Marines Charity and takes place on the protected area of the Woodbury Common Pebblebed Heaths - an important conservation area.

There are 5k and 10k mud run options for the famous obstacle course, which form part of the training for elite Royal Marine Commandos. Though the 10k is the longer course, both courses involve tackling 8 obstacles across rough moorland and woodland near Lympstone in Devon. These obstacles include tunnels, pipes, wading pools and the infamous 'Sheep Dip' - a fully-submerged muddy water culvert.

Though both runs are undeniably challenging, the 10k mud run requires just that bit more preparation, but these top tips will help all soon-to-be mud runners on both courses to rise to the challenge:

Remember it is an assault course, not an assault on the body

It's all in the preparation and beginning your training early will help you to build the level of endurance and fitness you need to take on the 5k or the 10k Mud Run. Former Marine, now personal trainer, Jason Hodge, has plenty of training tips to share on his Commando Challenge-specific training blog.

The key is to get yourself into a position where you take on the course without harming yourself in the process. You can minimise the risks by preparing your body in good time and treating it with care, building up your strength and fitness gradually so that you can get the most out of the event.

Don't let the wrong clothing become an obstacle to the obstacle course 

Commando entrants warming up in advance of the Royal Marines Commando ChallengeAlthough it's not essential, those who have taken on the obstacle course in the past often swear by elbow, wrist and knee protection when tackling the gravelly tunnels and pipes. The terrain is rough so you will need trainers that are fit for purpose for both the run and the obstacles, Remember it's a mud run, so don't expect your trainers to come out sparkling!

Dress lightly in the appropriate running wear as you will heat up. Although trained Commandos will lead you in a warm up, you can afford to be bold and start cold and leave that extra sweater for the end of the course once you've showered - you'll appreciate it then. Wading through mud in too many layers will slow you down. 

Obstacle course races are about contending with yourself A mud run entrant emerges from a muddy water course at the 2018 Royal Marines Commando Challenge

Whether you are enlisting as an individual or as part of a team, it's important not to pile on too much pressure. Although a challenge is good, and some of us are more competitive than others, be sure to pace yourself; do what your body is comfortable doing. 

If you don't have a team, there are plenty of supporters, Commandos and Devon Air Ambulance staff located around the course to encourage and motivate you.

After all, it is meant to be fun and your participation truly does make a big difference to the charities you're supporting.

Choose the right nutrition and lots of hydration in prep for your mud run

Two entrants to the Royal Marines Commando Challenge wade across a water coursePart of your prep is not only exercise, but giving your body the nutrition it needs to fuel your mud run, not only on the day itself, but also well in advance as you give yourself a diet that is healthy and well-balanced. 

Drinking plenty of water is key, and there will be water stations across the course to ensure you remain properly hydrated throughout, so there's no need to burden yourself with a water bottle.

Fitness guru, Jason Hodge, discusses nutrition in his second blog written especially for the challenge.

It may be a Royal Marines endurance course, but it's still fun!4 Commando Challenge entrants celebrate their completion of the mud run assault course

Being a Commando is a serious business and the training is hard. There is no doubt that both the 5k and 10k mud run courses are a serious challenge, but they are incredible fun too. So many people cross the finish line have enjoyed the challenge, with many announcing their commitment to get involved in the next year's event too!

So keep a positive mindset: the preparation is in the planning, stay cheerful and remember what you're doing it for! Your support helps two charities to serve a great many people, so Thank You.

Perhaps you've already enlisted, in which case, do tag us in pictures of your training journey! Use #RMCdoChallenge on social media as we'd love to see how you're getting on. If you've yet to enlist - get involved! You can enter as an individual or as a team. Find out more on the Royal Marines Commando Challenge, or...

Enlist here!