Sponsored by BMF Human Performance

This award honours a person that has overcome challenges in pursuit of sporting excellence, demonstrating outstanding achievement in the field of sport and contributing to the endeavours and advancement of the Armed Forces Community. The winner of this award will be chosen through a public vote.

And for those who are going to join the voting process remember there are many ways Sporting Excellence can be recognised, we have excellence in all our three finalists;

  • Sally Orange
  • Mark Tonner
  • Sergeant Naomi Benson

 

All three are worthy winners, but who captures your imagination?

Read the articles; watch the videos and cast your vote.

Voting goes live from 00:00, Monday 1st August.

Voting will then close at 23:59 on Sunday 14th August.

You can only vote once so make it count and spread the word!

 

Be Military Fit - With Bear Grylls

 

This award is generously sponsored by BMF Human Performance.

BMF Human Performance is a tech-enabled human performance business that specialises in working with major organisations to develop strategy and implement operational evidence-based solutions to achieve client aims surrounding the health, performance and wellbeing of their people.

BMF has been a veteran-owned and operated business for over 22 years. We are passionate about supporting the Armed Forces Community; currently providing training support to recruit candidates, performance systems to in-service personnel and health & wellbeing support to veterans.

Ivan Rowlatt, Managing Director of BMF Human Performance said:

“The Sporting Excellence Award honours a person or team that has overcome challenges, inspired others, and demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of sport. BMF is extremely proud to be supporting the Soldiering On Awards and the fantastic 2022 Finalists. To be selected as a finalist amongst an incredibly high standard of nominees is an achievement for which they should be extremely proud. The finalists are all excellent role models, not just for the Armed Forces community, but for the country as a whole”.

This award honours a person that has overcome challenges in pursuit of sporting excellence, demonstrating outstanding achievement in the field of sport and contributing to the endeavours and advancement of the Armed Forces Community. The winner of this award will be chosen through a public vote.

And for those who are going to join the voting process remember there are many ways Sporting Excellence can be recognised, we have excellence in all our three finalists;

  • Sally Orange
  • Mark Tonner
  • Sergeant Naomi Benson

 

All three are worthy winners, but who captures your imagination?

Read the articles; watch the videos and cast your vote.

Voting goes live from 00:00, Monday 1st August.

Voting will then close at 23:59 on Sunday 14th August.

You can only vote once so make it count and spread the word!

 

 

This award is generously sponsored by Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls.

Be Military Fit is Europe’s largest outdoor fitness provider, founded on military-inspired fitness and a dedication to training anyone, anywhere. Whilst offering support and employment to veterans, BMF encourages and inspires potential entrepreneurs to build their own businesses through our franchise model. The Human Performance side of the business delivers programmes to a range of public, commercial and sporting organisations. One of its major contracts supports the Army recruit candidate training process for over 20,000 individuals per annum.

Ivan Rowlatt, Director of Human Performance for BMF, said:

“The Sporting Excellence Award honours a person or team that has overcome challenges, inspired others, and demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of sport. BMF is extremely proud to be supporting the Soldiering On Awards and the fantastic 2021 Finalists. To be selected as a finalist amongst an incredibly high standard of nominees is an achievement for which they should be extremely proud. The finalists are all excellent role models, not just for the Armed Forces community, but for the country as a whole”.

Sally Orange

SE - Sally Orange

Sally Orange is an endurance athlete, physiotherapist and award-winning mental health campaigner. She has completed a marathon on every continent – each time dressed as a different piece of fruit!

Sally holds multiple Guinness World Records and world firsts. She’s completed over 70 marathons, eight Ironman triathlons, the relentless cycle ‘Race Across America’, and has run the toughest footrace on earth. She’s also cycled the length of New Zealand, swum the English Channel relay and skied 250km across the Arctic circle!

 

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“Sally is an outstanding athlete who has been an inspiration to many with her sporting challenges, whether that be members of the military community, children, civilians or her patients.”

Sally completed 22 years’ exemplary service in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Physiotherapy Officer before being medically discharged in 2019.  Speaking out about the difficulties she has faced with severe depression and chronic anxiety, Sally used the virtual London Marathon to highlight the importance of understanding mental health, and found a novel way in which to do so: in a pod of the London Eye, reflecting the highs and lows of the nation’s mental health. Then Sally’s underground marathon – in a mine – demonstrated how you never know what’s going on beneath the surface in someone else’s mind. Her latest challenge is to complete 7km a day for 70 days to honour Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, for every year of her reign.

Over the years, remarkable Sally has raised over £500,000 for over 40 charities!

“Sally supports and encourages, always thinking how other people’s achievements can help their confidence. Her main desire is to see others achieve, a truly rare and refreshing quality.”

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Mark Tonner

SE - Mark Tonner

Mark Tonner served 15 years as an Infantryman before losing the use of his right arm in a 2010 IED blast in Afghanistan. Determinedly, Mark adapted his physical training and uses his motto, “Mind over Body” to push himself and others to the limit every day.

As a trainer, Mark has worked with the British Olympic team, British Disabled team, Triathletes and Strongmen – people with and without limitations. He focuses first on training the mind and then the body.

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“Mark is such a fantastic role model for other Veterans who use the Sporting Force gym or access the Wounded Highlanders. He embodies sports recovery!”

Leading by example, Mark competes in many events. Just a few recent achievements include finishing first in the World’s Strongest Disabled Man in both 2020 and 2021, holding the world record for both the Highland Games WFD and Highland Games Hammer, and the world record for Deadlift SC2. This 24-hour weightlifting challenge saw Mark lifting a total of 78,150 kilos – the equivalent of three Apache helicopters! Securing the Guinness World Record for this, plus raising £2,000 for charity and promoting awareness of mental health and suicide prevention, Mark showed that no matter how low people might feel, someone is always there to lift them up.

“Mark pushes himself and leads by example. Taking on both able-bodied and other disabled weightlifters, he totally embodies the philosophy of ‘adapt and overcome.’ Mark truly believes there is nothing he can’t do; he absolutely refuses to allow any limitations to stop him from achieving any goal he sets his mind to. And his goals get bigger every day!

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Sergeant Naomi Benson

Sergeant Naomi Benson first fell in love with running while stationed in Canada in 2007, using it as a way to relieve stress and tension. Becoming passionate about the sport, she would run for hours, pushing herself to her limits before emerging a much calmer, more peaceful person.

Appealing to her highly competitive nature, Naomi completed her first Ultra Marathon in 2014. Then, in 2019, she undertook her first fundraising challenge for Combat Stress and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity – a weighted 50-mile Ultra Marathon around Snowdonia National Park. The Medicine Ball Challenge is a nationwide fundraiser where participants are handcuffed to a 3kg medicine ball for a week as they go about their everyday lives to represent the unseen burden of mental health problems. Completing this was an incredible achievement!

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“The impact of Naomi’s efforts are far-reaching; she has been interviewed by BBC Radio and featured in the Soldier magazine and Forces News, emphasising to the military community that help is available should they need it, the importance of which cannot be understated.”

In February 2022, Naomi took on the Medicine Ball Challenge once again, running for 24 hours around Tidworth Oval athletics track with the 3kg medicine ball strapped to her wrist. Incredibly, without sleep or rest, Naomi exceeded her target for laps run in this arduous challenge, completing a staggering 300 laps, the equivalent of 75 miles – and raising around £1500.

“The symptoms of 24-hour sleep deprivation can include drowsiness, brain fog and reduced coordination. So, for Naomi to complete the challenge while battling these symptoms and the pain and discomfort of carrying the medicine ball, is exceptional!”

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