Dates soon to be announced for Elan North & South and Ricochet Test marches. THOSE WHO DARE NOTHING…NEED HOPE FOR NOTHING….WHO DARES WINS
       

"Today we lay down the gauntlet. This is Iron Man"

Chief Instructor of Joint UKSF SAS and SBS Selection, 2001

IRON MAN
THE ORIGINAL SAS TEST MARCH

Over the years various nicknames have been unofficially attached to each test march and have stuck to the extent that these names are know what they're known by. The name Iron Man doesn't fail to deceive, and that is owed to most of the RV points being located in hard to reach and hard to find locations with extremely demanding intervening terrain. Staged on the western side of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the unique characteristic of Iron Man is the unavoidable cocktail of suffering it never fails to serve; with a combination of shockingly steep features and utterly miserable underfoot and off trail conditions, it delivers the very best, and very worst of Point to Point and the Elan Valley - Loadstone series of marches combined. Here Iron Man comes into its own and for many it is the most demanding march they will face on Test Week aside of The Long Drag.

To make each RV and breach the undisclosed final time limit to ultimately pass this march, the volunteer has no option but to take on some of the worst conditions and most demanding terrain in the entire Beacons range. Long, drawn out and seemingly never ending slopes, brutal inclines, vast and hard to navigate expanses of flat, open marshland and micro-climates prone to reduced visibility serve to make Iron Man the beast that crushes the will to keep going and drains energy levels more than any other march. Factor in the weather and the exposed nature of the landscape, and anyone taking on this march will be pitting themselves against a very real and ultimate physical and mental endurance challenge.

However, for those with the right temperament there is a lot more to this otherwise sinister march than suffering alone. Iron Man tracks across what is arguably the wildest route of the four Test Week marches staged in the Beacons and the open nature of the terrain allows you to feel a strong and real sense of a return to nature and going back to basics. Along with Point to Point, it is also for many the most satisfying to complete. A real sense of achievement and well-being is experienced by those taking on the landscape and features that Iron Man has to offer. We believe this comes from a multitude of reasons; the dramatic and contrasting nature of the terrain, rather than repeatedly going up and down features, the ever present need to be thinking and on top of your personal drills, and the off trail routes between RV points allowing for a physical and mental experience of isolation that truly offers a strong sense of realism as to what it is to be on ''Selection.'' It is little wonder that some of the greatest adventure literature has been composed by mountaineers and explorers describing the sheer joy of how the mind and body feels to work ones way up a mountain or across a landscape. Leaning into a slope and pushing into the next step while becoming immersed in nature can be physically demanding but soul cleansing as the mind is focused intently on nothing but the present moment.

IRON MAN TEST MARCH LOAD BEARING REQUIREMENTS

CATEGORY

BLADE:
SF:
MAIN FIELD:

LOAD

45lb Plus food and water
30lb Plus food and water
Mountain Safety clothing and equipment only

CRITERIA

Anyone attempting the Iron Man test march must have completed the Fan Dance (summer or winter edition) and the Test March associated Training Day. We welcome independent applications (discounted) from current or former serving members of the armed forces.

ALL FOR WHAT: THE IRON MAN FINISHER'S PATCH

Upon passing Selection soldiers are presented only with a modest winged dagger cloth cap badge stitched onto a sandy beret. True to the SAS Regimental ethos, in particular humility, each of the six test marches will have its own uniquely designed cloth patch with it's own equally unique background story.

THE IRON MAN SAS TEST MARCH EVENT: A STORY IN PICTURES AND WORDS

 

 

 

THE GREATER THE SUFFERING THE GREATER THE MEMORIES OF PLEASURE
WORDS BY COLLETTE MCCARTHY

The beauty of life is, if you allow yourself, you can never stop growing and with that you will find more and more areas of beauty and fulfilment that remind you to seize each day. Push yourself, physically and mentally, don't wait for that situation to remind you that you're not here for long, life is more than 9-5, eat, sleep, repeat.

https://colettemccarthy.wordpress.com/

IRON MAN:INDOMITABLE WILL
WORDS BY STEPHEN MOORE

The order of march is on Fan Dance and Point 2 Point times which put us off near last to go. Sipping water I wait patiently, I want to get going but knowing what's coming is going to hurt

https://hellonhighhills.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/ironman/

WALK WITH LEGENDS
Words by Mark Hughes

Failure is not an option, in the brink of desperation (we find ourselves) but success isn't always measured as the finish line - sometimes we have to go a step further ... My name is Mark, aka EssexBoyDoesGood,this is my story... as I take that next step I found myself repeating a quote in my head – "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."– Francis of Assisi

http://essexboydoesgood.com/2015/04/16/iron-man-walk-with-legends-the-journey/

IRON MAN: ORIGINAL SAS TEST MARCH
WORDS BY JAMES ALLEN

Point To Point had changed me in so many positive ways, but Iron man was being billed as an even greater challenge, so I knew I had to be there. My right leg was in tatters from injury, but nothing was going to stop me getting to the start line for this next great test. The only question was whether I would make it to the finish line.

http://jamesablog.starjump.org/?p=6795

ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH
WORDS BY IAN FORD

I spent days crossing this terrain in blazing sun as well as rain, gales and snow and here I am, less than 10k in, having thoughts of a VW (giving up).

https://hike4autism.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/iron-man/