Geoff Speak's Spartan Challenge

23rd February 2023

Hampshire policeman Geoff Speak is a keen advocate of health and fitness for everyone and a prime example of what people can achieve when they train hard.

In 2021 he and two colleagues raised money for a cancer charity by taking part in the Great South Run in an event they labeled Operation Pulled Pork (OPP), pulling a police car around the 10-mile course.

Following the success of OPP, which raised more than £2,000, Geoff decided to take on an even more formidable challenge in 2022 to raise funds and awareness for Autism Hampshire.

The challenge Geoff settled on was not just one tough event, but three – a Spartan Trifecta, which is a trio of races run over a course packed with seriously challenging obstacles. Known as Spartan races, he chose to run the 5k Sprint, the 10k Super, and the 21k Beast, all in just one weekend!

Asked why he had taken on this extreme challenge, Geoff said he has a close friend whose son had recently been diagnosed as autistic as well as other friends with autistic children. Through their experiences, he came to understand how important the professional support offered by Autism Hampshire is to those people.

“So it was not just about raising money for the charity,” he said. “Raising people’s awareness of its existence and the incredible work it does was just as important” he added.

His preparation for the event saw Geoff spending many hours in the gym, often at an unearthly hour, before heading to his job, until in October he set off to Nutley in East Sussex for the longest weekend of his life.

Despite being more than prepared for 99% of the obstacles, one gave him pause, especially as he only heard about it the night before the race. A 50m swim in about 9ft of water did, Geoff admits, become a big mental block for him, but ultimately it didn’t stop him and though there was an option to skip it, Geoff took it on.

On Saturday he completed the longest course, then took on the 10k on Sunday morning before finishing with the 5k in the afternoon, having tackled 75 obstacles in all.

And in addition to the general toughness of the races, he completed all three in police riot gear!

Geoff’s fundraising has reached almost £1,600, and his Just Giving page is still open if anybody wishes to donate.

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