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Red rats run in the desert

May 2, 2011

Desert rats were spotted running around Camp Bastion yesterday afternoon, as members of 7th Armoured Brigade, known as the Desert Rats, took part in a 5Km race along with other units, in the blazing Helmand heat.

The start of the Red Race Run at Camp Bastion. Picture: Lt Cdr Woodman RN. Crown Copyright/MOD

The run was organised by WO1 Rick Lowe, who set the runners off in almost 40C heat from the top of a Mastiff. At the same time over 200 family members and friends were running the same distance at Hohne Garrison, Germany. He said: “I was chuffed with the turnout with over 100 runners taking part; it was a fun race, but with a serious side. We are at the start of our 6-month deployment and it helped us focus our thoughts with our families back home.”

Runners wore a variety of kit, varying from lightweight PT kit, to Superman outfits and full bomb disposal kit. The event helped to raise over $550 for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) from entrance fees and contributions from those unable to take part.

Sgt Burton-White in full EOD kit, with support from a few friends. Photo: Lt Cdr Woodman RN. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

At the finish line the runners were met by a welcome cool water spraying, with most saying that the run was very hot, but the breeze was nice. Sergeant Michael ‘Chalky’ Burton-White, 17 Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, who completed the race in his bomb disposal gear, said: “I feel like death warmed up.”

Major John Roberts, 32 Engineer Regiment, summed up the race by saying: “It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, our families and soldiers are always together with the well-known ethos of the Desert Rats – ‘All Of One Company’.”

Cold water spray at the finish line. Photo: Lt Cdr Woodman RN. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2011 15:35

    If you couldn’t take part in the Red Rat Race on Sunday but would like to support Desert Rat soldiers and their families, you can donate online at
    All proceeds are going to SSAFA Forces Help in the Hohne, Fallingbostel and Celle garrisons – home of the Desert Rats.

  2. I_love_Afghanistan permalink
    May 3, 2011 05:45

    Sheesh…. in 40 degrees or so – rather them than me! I think that in 40-degree heat, five kilometres would feel like a marathon.
    Well done to all who competed and all who helped out!

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