Jarrow fitness group raise £14,000 for charity with hill march

The Black Sheep team.
The Black Sheep team.

A team of people from a fitness class in South Tyneside have raise £14,000 for charity with a march through some of the toughest countryside in the UK.

Thirty members of the Black Sheep Fitness Academy, in Jarrow, embarked on a gruelling 24km march along the Welsh Brecon Beacons mountains to raise money for a military foundation.

A sign along the way

A sign along the way

The group raised the cash for the 1820 Foundation - which was established to support ex-armed forces community and benefits ex-military personnel struggling with transition into civilian life, addictions, homeless and criminal activity.

The team took on the extreme challenge known as Fan Dance across the Welsh mountain, each carrying 20 kg of food and water.

Black Sheep Fitness Academy instructor, Lee Tiffin, said: “As an extreme event, it went really well. It was a very tough challenge but one that we will never forget.

“There was some tricky weather at times and not only physical but mental strength was needed. We all pulled together and when the going got tough and morale went up.”

A summit on the walk

A summit on the walk

He added: “Watching people sweating and limping, clearly in some discomfort, but still with a smile on their face and able to share a joke was great to see, as was the team enjoying a few well earned beers back at the pub when it was all over.”

The fitness training group in Jarrow started six years ago and the walk brings the total raised for charity to over £67,000.

The charities which have benefitted include Cancer Connections, Cancer Research UK and Charlie Cookson.

Mr Tiffin said: “The FanDance remains one of the toughest tests of physical endurance and one which is used as a benchmark to select some of the more elite soldiers in the world.”

Lee Tiffin

Lee Tiffin

The SAS use the Brecon Beacons in their selection procedure.

He added: “We had to embark upon a series of training events in some tough terrain throughout Northumberland to try and build up our team in the very unique skills required.

“The 1820 foundation were both amazed by what we did and they told us that our level of commitment wouldn’t have been out of place in one of the military units whose footprints we were running in.”

The group successfully completed the route as part of three different standards, gold (20kg weight in under four hours), silver (20kg and no time limit), bronze (no weight and time limit).

The walkers on the route

The walkers on the route

To join the gym you can visit www.blacksheepfitnessacademy.com or contact 07814549531, they specialise in fat loss, fitness, strength and conditioning.