AN annual Royal Marine-style challenge which raises thousands of pounds for charity has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Cops30Miler, which was set up by Detective Chief Inspector Lee Gosling, of Durham Constabulary, and fellow serving officer Inspector Simon Guilfoyle, of West Midlands Police, is a 30-mile yomp across the rugged Northumberland countryside, with participants carrying 32lbs in a backpack.

The event was due to take place in September but has been cancelled following discussions with the Royal Marines, who help run the event.

DCI Gosling said: “Whilst it is extremely disappointing that we have had to cancel the event, the safety of everyone involved is our top priority.

“This pandemic is far from over and with the future unknown in terms of restrictions and social distancing, we felt it was impossible to postpone until later in the year.

“There was a lot of excitement about taking to the hills for this challenge again but everyone has been fully supportive of the decision and it is making people even more determined for next year.”

Since it was launched in 2016, the event has raised about £44,000, which has been split between the Royal Marines Charity and the Care of Police Survivors (COPS).

Last year, 36 participants, including several officers from Durham Constabulary, tackled the course which starts near Kirknewton, in Northumberland.

The event, which is the first of its kind, closely replicates the final test Royal Marines recruits must complete to end their training.

All those who had signed up for this year will automatically receive a place for 2021 if they want it, and a reserve list is being compiled should spaces arise.

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