Physical fitness is one of the core pillars of effective soldiering and it has been since time immemorial. Whether it was in ancient Greece where the formidable Spartans and Macedonians developed superb strength to withstand the physical rigors of Hoplite combat, or in Early Middle Ages Scandinavia where the Vikings developed an extraordinary muscular endurance by rowing their fearsome Drakkar ships, or in the modern era where war-fighters undergo a strict physical fitness regime to be ready to meet an enemy and destroy him.

Ten Paras from 3 PARA are currently undergoing a gruesome 500-mile ruck carrying 35-pound rucksacks to raise funds for charity and commemorate their ancestors who fought in the Second World War.

“The biggest challenge will be the punishment on the body,” said Major Fox, commanding officer of C Company, Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, in a statement to Forces Network. Major Fox will be leading the Paras during their arduous ruck. “We will be on our feet for a long time every day, dealing with back and shoulder rubs from our packs and the sore feet that come with tabbing on hard tarmac.”

The team began from the landing beaches of Normandy, where during the invasion, Paras dropped behind German lines to capture a number of strategic points. They will then march toward Arnhem, one of the locations of the famous WWII Operation Market Garden, which was immortalized in the film, “A Bridge Too Far.” They’ll pass through Bastogne and the Ardennes, the site of the Battle of the Bulge, before ending up back in Normandy and the site of the Merville Battery, which was a series of fortified bunkers the Paras destroyed during an audacious operation on the morning of D-Day.