COURAGE, confidence and stamina were just some of the attributes on display at King’s Ely on Friday (17) as Senior students battled it out in the 21st annual Martin-Doyle Endurance Challenge.

The gruelling timed event pits teams of two against each other in a physically challenging combination of running, swimming, canoeing, climbing, archery and two different assault courses.

The competition was created in the memory of Kit Martin-Doyle, one of the founders of King’s Ely Scheme – a unique programme of outdoor pursuits where students take part in a variety of challenges and expeditions that take them as far away as the mountains of South America and Morocco, as well as frequent trips to the rivers and mountain ranges of Europe. Ely Scheme encourages an attitude to life that will serve students well in all of the challenges that the future will bring.

Like all of the Ely Scheme activities, the Martin-Doyle Challenge inspires students to come out of their comfort zone and face a host of physical pursuits in a controlled environment.

Starting at nearby Stretham, competitors complete a 5km run followed by a circuit of an assault course before canoeing back to Ely. From the river, they then run to the school’s climbing wall to make an ascent before running to the rifle range and on to the archery targets. After scoring over 100 they complete the school’s local assault course before finishing with a 100m swim in the school’s swimming pool. The total time is then taken for each team of two.

The winning boys’ team comprised David Scott and Laurence Halfpenny, with an impressive time of 1 hour and 19 minutes. Sisters Georgia and India Baynes won the girls’ competition with their combined time of 1 hour and 41 minutes.

“Lessons learned beyond the classroom are every bit as important as those within it,” said Head Sue Freestone, adding: “The grit, determination and spirit of the students who complete the Martin-Doyle Challenge each year astound me, and make me very proud to know the individuals concerned.”

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