Withburga House (girls) and Osmond House (boys) were the winners of this year’s Martin Doyle Endurance Challenge.

The gruelling and timed competition is held annually in the Summer Term. The event pits teams of two King’s Ely Senior students from each House against each other in a physically and mentally challenging combination of running, swimming, canoeing, climbing, memory tests, and more.

The challenge was launched in memory of Kit Martin-Doyle, who was one of the founders of Ely Scheme Outdoor Education. While most independent schools have an outdoor education programme, Ely Scheme is both unique and central to the whole King’s experience, providing students in Years 9-13 with countless opportunities to develop their leadership skills, and push themselves out of their comfort zone.

Martin Doyle sees students taking on a 5-kilometre run, followed by a 3-kilometre canoe, a run back to school, scaling the school climbing wall, a memory test challenge, a tyre flip challenge, a lap of the school assault course, and finally finishing with a 100-metre swim in the school pool whilst wearing a buoyancy aid.

This year’s challenge took place on June 30th and the Winning Houses were Osmond (Ben Collier and Alexander Keene), and Withburga (Lauren Booth and Xenia Marshall). Ben and Alexander completed the challenge in 1 hour, 17 minutes, and 17 seconds. Lauren and Xenia crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 23 minutes, and 30 seconds. Kudos to Alexander for helping Osmond to win the competition for two years running!

Congratulations not just to the winners, but to every student who competed: Alesya Giles-Burge, Amy Bungard, Mollie Chamberlain, Sydney Smith, Sophie Haydn-Slater, Emma Williams, Samuel Li, Joshua Rundle, Robert Banwell, David du Plooy, Ted Hall, and Jack Hammond.

James Houlston, our Director of Outdoor Education, said: “The weather conditions for the challenge this year were almost perfect, and all competitors did extremely well. Martin Doyle is certainly not for the faint hearted! My thanks go to all of the staff and Pupil Instructors who gave up their evening to help marshal the event, to everyone who came along to support the competitors, and to Hereward Hall for hosting a barbecue afterwards, where all proceeds raised will be donated to Hope4Malawi.”

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