Women's Armed forces take on mammoth challenge for COVID-19 relief effort
By Ashleigh Wilmot
Last Updated: 01/05/20 12:20pm
Army and Navy Women's rugby teams will tackle the ultimate burpee challenge to raise funds for NHS heroes on what would have been an historic day this weekend.
Army Captain and Gloucester Hartpury second rower Erica Mills launched the fitness initiative to support frontline workers, with a fundraising target of £10,000.
The 31-year old said: "In my current job, I consider myself as a frontline worker and it's pretty bizarre that my mum and my sister are more 'key workers' in the current climate than I am.
"In these unprecedented times, we all wanted to do something to help."
The women's squads were training to play their first ever fixture at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, following the annual men's game after '20 or so years of trying'.
Mills explained: "We've always strived for parity with the men. Whether that's about the amount of kit we get, the opportunities to play certain opposition or to travel more with the game.
"Sadly, we weren't necessarily viewed as being worthy of that second game on the day so the fact we got the green light this year makes it even more important to mark the occasion.
"We just want to bring a bit more consistency in rugby union between the men and the women."
The fitness challenge involves both squads collectively completing 82,000 burpees, the equivalent of Twickenham Stadium's capacity, before 4.30pm to signify what would have been a sell-out occasion.
Mills added: "We knew if we wanted people to consider this to be a challenge and part with their money it had to be something disgusting - hence why we chose burpees.
"Everyone loves to hate burpees and one of our coaches is a huge fan of burpee punishments at Army training camp so it seemed fitting for that to be the choice of exercise."
Over 70 women are taking part in the lockdown fundraiser, including players from Gloucester Hartpury, Harlequins, Wasps, Worcester Warriors and Bath Ladies.
The competitors efforts will be celebrated throughout the day via social media using the hashtags #BurpeesAsOne and #TheGreatBritishArmyBurpOff.