Why Are Soldiers Drawn to Extreme Charity Challenges?

Why Are Soldiers Drawn to Extreme Charity Challenges?

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For veterans and serving personnel, extreme charity challenges are a tried and tested way of pushing your physical and mental limits. Whether it's running a marathon, climbing a mountain or jumping out of a plane, extreme charity challenges are a chance to put your resilience to the ultimate test while making a positive impact in the world. Veterans and military personnel have a mindset unlike anyone else, and extreme charity challenges are a popular way to strengthen your mindset even further.

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“You’ve got to be a bit mad to take on a challenge like this. All us squaddies are.”

Veteran Danny Davies, Royal Engineers

How does the military change you mentally?

Mind over matter

Military training teaches soldiers to push through mental and physical obstacles every day. Extreme charity challenges provide an opportunity to apply that same mindset to a new challenge. By pushing their mental and physical limits, veterans and serving personnel can develop a deeper sense of self-confidence and resilience that serves them well in all aspects of life. 

“Four months after having my leg amputated, I undertook a 26-mile sponsored walk to see how far I could push myself on the new leg.”  

- Veteran amputee Steve Owen, Royal Welsh Fusiliers 

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The military lifestyle

Extreme charity challenges often require participants to train for months in advance, which leads to significant improvements in physical fitness. For veterans and serving personnel, who are used to rigorous physical and mental training, taking on an extreme challenge can be a way to stay in shape and maintain an elite level of fitness and mental dexterity. 

“For most of my training, I was doing work PT sessions during the week, then squeezing in my own training sessions around that.” 

- Cpl Alan Jones, REME 


Just as in military service, extreme charity challenges can be a way to build camaraderie and form strong bonds with other participants. By working together to overcome a shared challenge, veterans and serving personnel can form lasting friendships and create a sense of community. 

“I served in the Royal Engineers for seven years, and my climbing partner, Luke, still serves to this day.” 

- Veteran Danny Davies, Royal Engineers 

Wear your Fear Naught with pride

What are the benefits of fundraising?

The most obvious reason to take on an extreme charity challenge is to raise money for a good cause. If you’re a veteran or currently serving in the Armed Forces, you might want to raise money for a military cause, such as Scotty’s Little Soldiers, or another charity that means a lot to you.  

Additionally, many veterans and serving personnel struggle to find a sense of purpose after leaving the military. Getting stuck into extreme charity challenges is a popular way to rediscover a common purpose and give back to the military community in one impressive swoop. 

“I think Scotty’s is a charity that everyone in the Forces can relate to, as we all either know someone who has died or we know someone who knows someone. I just wanted to help in whatever way I could.” 

- Sgt David Mathieson, Royal Regiment of Scotland 

REME vehicle mechanic, Cpl Alan Jones, undertaking his first ever Ironman – the Bolton Ironman Challenge – wearing full military gear for Scotty's Little Soldiers, holds banner at finish line

What are extreme charity challenges?

Extreme charity challenges are fundraising activities that are guaranteed to push you to your physical and mental limits. These challenges can range from endurance events like marathons and triathlons to extreme activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, or mountain climbing. Want some more ideas? Click here. 

It’s not easy, but that’s the point. To beat these challenges, you need an elite mindset, unwavering determination and the resolve to overcome any obstacle. There’s a reason so many veterans and military personnel can’t get enough. 

“Loads of people do the Ironman every year, so I wanted to up the difficulty a bit. Since I was doing it for a military charity, I decided to keep it military themed and wear my full kit the whole time – boots, trousers, t-shirt and a bergen with 12 kilos in it.” 

- Cpl Alan Jones, REME 

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How can I raise money for charity?

Are you a veteran or serving personnel interested in taking on an extreme charity challenge? Here are some tips on getting started: 

Choose a cause:

Pick a charity fighting for something you care about. Find a cause that resonates with you and support it. 

Find an event:

Once you've chosen a cause, look for an event that fits your interests and abilities. There are lots of extreme charity challenges to choose from, so consider what you'd like to take on and what you're physically capable of. Why not check out our Fear Naught approved challenges

Set a fundraising goal:

A fundraising goal can motivate you to get moving. Make sure your goal is realistic but challenging, and consider leveraging your personal and professional networks to meet it. 

Train and prepare:

Extreme charity challenges often require months of training and prep, so make sure to allow yourself enough time. If your challenge is especially physically demanding, consider consulting with a personal trainer or coach to develop an effective training plan. 

Spread the word:

Once you've committed to a challenge and set a fundraising goal, it's time to build awareness for your cause. Use social media, post in group chats, email potential funders and any other channels you can think of to promote your challenge and encourage people to donate. 

Fear Naught is owned and operated by Scotty's Little Soldiers. 100% of our profits allow us to support bereaved military children and young people around the UK through an effective combination of practical, emotional and educational support. Scotty's support young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. We offer a range of services designed to connect our members and create a community of bereaved military children built around mutual support.