Fans of the acclaimed Channel 4 show SAS: Who Dares Wins have just been treated to a fourth instalment of the series, as a new batch of ‘Recruits’ tested their mettle against the world’s hardest initiation.
Fronted by former military hardman, Ant Middleton, SAS: Who Dares Wins puts a group of civilians through a condensed version of Special Forces selection, famed for being one of the hardest military selection courses in the world. Testing physical and mental strength to the extreme, the fourth series saw 25 Recruits flown to Chile, where they were relentlessly assessed in a series of brutal tasks high up in the Andes.
With a ‘winter warfare’ theme, Recruits were challenged to battle inclement weather at altitudes of up to 3,500m, the Channel 4 website stating that Series 4 was the ‘toughest and longest course’ the Directing Staff (a team of elite former Special Forces commandos) have ever designed. Amongst the testing activities were a 5km hike up a 60% incline, carrying a 100kg log, swimming under the ice of a glacial lake, freefall abseiling 100ft down a ravine and regular ‘beastings’ in the camp’s parade square, which include all manner of physical exercises.
Amongst the participants, Recruit 14 was Brazil’s Head of Sport, James Gwinnett, who progressed admirably through the course’s various phases. Recruits were given the opportunity to VW (voluntary withdrawal) by handing in their numbered armbands and the DS also had the power to ‘cull’ participants at any time. One of the more stalwart of the group, James lasted until the final days, ultimately leading a team through an escape and evasion activity, before being ‘captured’ by the Chilean militia and subjected to interrogation. Arguably the most uncomfortable phase of the course, participants are subjected to physically uncomfortable stress positions and sporadically interrogated to see if they can hold out giving away mission information.
James, who suffered a broken neck playing rugby in 2013, endured six hours of this before opting to withdraw himself for fear of suffering further neck pain in the future.
He said, “I count it a great achievement to have made it through to the Final Eight on SAS Who Dares Wins, considering the brutality of the conditions. The altitude and the cold played a major part in wearing us down throughout the course and the Staff ramped up the intensity of the challenges in those last days, both in physical and mental terms. We were all pushed to breaking point and learned how to come through with a little more left to spare. It was an incredible exercise in understanding our capabilities and limits.”
Anyone wishing to catch up on the programme can do so here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/sas-who-dares-wins.