ENERGY, courage and integrity were in abundance at King’s Ely’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 4km 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 Wilkinson (George Clift and Oliver Hutchinson) and Hill (Molly Jones and Carlotta Rosenthal), who completed the challenge in a time of 1 hour 18 minutes 19 seconds and 1 hour 38 minutes and 34 seconds, respectively.

Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, said: “Every year I marvel at the bravery and determination of the young people who face the Martin-Doyle Challenge. As I watch them climb the side of the science block having already run down to Braham Farm, rowed back to Ely and run up over Cherry Hill park, I am profoundly struck by their physical and emotional strength and their refusal to be beaten. We can all learn a lesson from them in resilience and commitment.”

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