KING’S Ely students displayed true grit and determination when competing in the school’s annual Martin-Doyle Endurance Challenge.

The gruelling and fiercely-contested timed event pits teams of two King’s Ely Senior students against each other in a physically challenging combination of running, swimming, canoeing, climbing, archery and an assault course.

The annual competition was spearheaded in memory of Kit Martin-Doyle, one of the founders of the Ely Scheme. While most independent schools have an outdoor pursuits programme, the Ely Scheme is both unique and central to the whole King’s Ely experience, as young people are given tangible opportunities to push themselves to achieve beyond anything they ever thought possible.

The Ely Scheme aims to build important life skills that cannot always be taught in the classroom and the Martin-Doyle Challenge inspires students to come out of their comfort zone and face a host of physical pursuits in a controlled environment – including a 5km run, 4km canoe, climbing, archery, an assault course, a 100m swim and a memory test.

The total time is then taken for each team of two. This year’s winning houses were School House (made up of Alex Layfield and Tom Keeling) and Hill House (made up of Emma Tarshish and Rebecca Garrett), who completed the challenge in a time of 1 hour 17 minutes 8 seconds, and 1 hour 33 minutes and 49 seconds, respectively.

Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, said: “I have huge admiration for the young people who take part in this challenge. The physical and emotional commitment they display, and the work they do to prepare for the rigours of the event sets an example to us all.”

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