Steven, Keri, Rosie and James: the Burn Burpee Burn challenge team
Steven, Keri, Rosie and James: the Burn Burpee Burn challenge team

Four members of The Unit Fitness in Godmanchester are taking on an epic fitness challenge: completing as many burpees as they can in 24 hours, all for their local air ambulance charity, Magpas Air Ambulance.

James Welch (33), the team captain, has recently left the RAF and wanted to sink his teeth into a new challenge. He decided to tackle a charity event to support his local community. James explains, “The idea was simple; select an exercise everyone likes the least (burpees), for a horrible amount of time (24 hours) and hope that the donations come flying in (probably down to sympathy!). I spoke to some of my former colleagues who had attempted equally ambitious challenges, and their advice was clear—share the load with a trusted team.”

Steven Crump (37)—who not only served alongside James in the RAF, but was also James’ best man at his wedding and godfather to James’ eldest daughter—was an easy first addition to the team. They then asked the other members of The Unit Fitness, based on the Roman Way Small Business Park, for more volunteers and Rosie Kerr (25) and Keri Cooper (30) stepped up to the plate. The final member of the ‘Burn Burpee Burn’ challenge is Hayley. Although unable to participate, she has a close personal connection to the charity and is the appointed event manager—supporting the team through the ordeal, getting everything prepared in the run-up to the challenge, and will be there on the day to keep them going when going gets tough.

James continues, “As a team we have been training for the past six months, including up to five-hour sessions early in the morning and late at night. The killer for this event isn’t pace or the number of burpees, it is the fatigue! Sleep deprivation will cause the body to exhaust excess energy just to stay awake, on top of the hundreds of burpees being performed by each challenger, so training at unsociable hours will definitely help us when the time comes.

“Either through work or personal experience the team connected with Magpas Air Ambulance’s purpose and values, so we decided to support the local charity that is there for those most in need, living through potentially the worst moment of their lives. We’ve already raised £4,000 so far, and hope to see those donations continue to climb as we take on the challenge this weekend.” James sums up, “We will happily sacrifice one day of our sweat and tears to help the Magpas Air Ambulance team give someone a tomorrow.”

James, Steve, Keri and Rosie will complete this feat of fitness and endurance on 16th-17th March. If you wish to support their 24-hour burpee challenge and help your local air ambulance charity continue to save lives, visit their fundraising page.

Magpas Air Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic Sarah joins challenger Rosie

Following the experience James Welch, the team captain who came up with the idea of the 24-hour burpee challenge called as ‘Burn Burpee Burn’, said “It was an experience! We were supported throughout the event by people from the community and family, and were only alone as a team for 2 of the 24 hours, which is incredible.

“We were definitely galvanised at the beginning by having loads of people coming for a chat and joining in to try out the pace. The hardest moments were in the dark hours (2-4 am) when our bodies wanted to rest but we just had to keep going.

“I am incredibly proud of how exceptionally well the team did (collectively completing 8,407 burpees over 24 hours), and hopefully this event raised awareness of what the heroes at Magpas Air Ambulance do and the donations raised help save lives.”

Over the course of the challenge, Magpas Air Ambulance medical team members dropped in to provide encouragement and thank the team for what they were doing, talking about what the money raised will help them to do in the community. And even Magpas Air Ambulance CEO, Daryl Brown MBE DL, got stuck in! As well as saying some words of thanks once they’d completed the feat, he donned his gym kit and took on some burpees himself alongside the team.

Shelley Green, Magpas Air Ambulance Community and Events Fundraising Manager explains, “This challenge just goes to show what one off-the-wall idea can do if people really put their minds to it! In theory, this challenge sounds like madness, but these four people have done something extraordinary—completing over 8,000 burpees in 24 hours, bringing the community together and raising more than £6,000 for Magpas Air Ambulance! We’re incredibly grateful for the sheer amount of money raised, which will help keep our advanced medical team saving lives and keeping families together 24/7 across Cambridgeshire and beyond.

“If anyone else wants to follow in their footsteps and turn a fundraising idea into reality for Magpas Air Ambulance, we’re here to help and will do all we can to support your efforts. Just visit magpas.org.uk.”

Rosie and the Magpas Air Ambulance medical team