Welcome to The PentUp Foundation
The PentUp Foundation uses the sport of Modern Pentathlon as a means of sports therapy to support the recovery of military veterans who have completed clinical treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, we support the provision of clinical treatment of serving and retired British Military personnel who are affected by PTSD.
PTSD can occur everywhere is society, but it’s impact and effects are particularly acute for those who have seen and suffered war related trauma. The vast majority of serving armed forces personnel successfully cope with the trauma they have seen and suffered as part of their role fighting for their country – in fact, the incidence of mental illness in the armed forces is far lower than in a similar demographic in wider society. However, for some, the effects of their trauma are serious enough to need specialist help. PTSD is a nasty, debilitating, destructive illness that destroys people, their families, their relationships, and their lives. It eats into your soul, triggers violent irrational outbursts, creates disabling anxiety, and it robs you of sleep and rest. PTSD destroys you silently and relentlessly from inside your head. Sufferers are stigmatised, isolated and can move into the margins of society, spiralling into a world of drink, drugs, and crime
The PentUp Foundation was created with the aim of using the sport of Modern Pentathlon to give people the opportunity to train and compete in 5 new and demanding disciplines. We provide a support network of fellow sufferers & supporters and we provide a worthwhile reason to get up on a Sunday morning. Our athletes work hard on improving skills and fitness and to get the chance to excel in the ultimate Olympic sport, proving the value of Recovery Through Sport
Evidence based research has shown that the process of training and preparing for a competitive multi-discipline sport can form an essential part of therapeutic treatment and rehabilitation for sufferers of PTSD. An adapted Modern Pentathlon is an excellent tool to support recovery. Whilst top flight athletes will need to excel in all 5 disciplines, a novice with basic skills can compete successfully without needing high levels of fitness, endurance and stamina. Pentathlon is a skills-based event where thoughtful strategy, mental preparation and native cunning can see you beat someone far fitter and stronger. This is the essence of why it works so well - it gets your mind working hard on something positive every week.
The foundation has been set up to run regular training and sports therapy sessions for veterans giving them the opportunity to train for each of the 5 Modern Pentathlon disciplines in a safe and supportive environment. One of our founder members, Dr Simon Thompson (Psychiatrist) says ; “This adapted modern pentathlon event works in treating PTSD veterans because it utilises the psychological skills gained through intensive trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy and the grounding and mood emotional regulation techniques developed in the clinical treatment programmes”.
Swimming - 120m , no penalty or advantage is given for ability level, any style goes!
LaserRun 3 x 400m run and 3 x 7m shoot. One class for all competitors, same scoring format as an Olympic pent.
For safety reasons, riders are certificated for ‘safe jump height’ prior to the event, and are not permitted to jump higher fences than this. This ranges from 1 metre at a canter to 30cm at a trot. The majority of riders in 2017 completed a course of 30cm and 60 cm jumps. Points awarded were linked to height jumped so the highest points were awarded to the most competent riders on the day.
Fencers compete in teams of mixed-ability in a 1-Hit Competition. Points are awarded for each fight won. In 2017 participants ranged from complete beginners to a Rio 2016 Olympic fencer.
PentUp facilitates the training support and preparation of participants through a programme of training events from March through to October each year. Some of these events were organised by 3rd parties, and funded through sponsorship and donated services/facilities.
1:2:1 training for fencing, Laser shooting and riding, if necessary with a mentor – this is particularly useful for veterans who are withdrawn and are wary of large groups/social contact, and who are nervous about Sunday morning group sessions.
Regular Sunday drop-in training for run-shoot and fencing - this year kindly hosted by Hampton School and provided at no cost to participants. Shooting is currently supported by Surrey MPC. Fencing is supported by coaches from Epson Fencing Club, London Thames Fencing Club and Cobham Fencing Club who provide specialist training and loan kit.
For those unable to get to the regular training sessions where possible, we hook them up with a local fencing club or riding school. This year these have included Luso Fencing Academy, Maidenhead; Hall Place Equestrian Centre, Reading; Quarry Farm Stables, Lingfield and Cornilo Riding, Kent.
Sunday riding training is provided by Chessington Equestrian Centre at a heavily discounted rate and they also provide some of the horses for the Sandhurst event. The majority of novice riders were capable of jumping a 60cm course after 6 months training.
Participants who are particularly nervous around horses also had the opportunity to take part in a 5-day familiarisation course run by Dare to Live. This charity uses interaction with horses as a platform to support individuals recovering from PTSD
Participants are encouraged to take part in relevant competitions during the training cycle to familiarise them with the competition format and help them overcome anxiety associated with competition. During 2017 vets participated in the Celtic Challenge (a veterans fencing competition for athletes from Celtic countries (Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Galicia, Brittany, IoM, Guernsey/Jersey).
Participants also took part in the GBR Laser Run championships and PentUp veterans were successful in being selected to represent GBR in both the 2017 and 2018 UIPM World Laser Run Championships.
Swim and run training is down to each individual either using free, local, Park Runs or training sessions from Swimlab who train on Shepperton Lake.
Your support and contributions make it possible for us to continue to run training events and host the main competition and help veterans on their journey of recovery
The PentUp Foundation is currently established as a Community Interest Company (CIC) and the first set on annual report and accounts are due on 30th June 2018. Jonathan Pallas is legal entity Director of the PentUp Foundation, and Dr Simon Thompson acts as co-founder and Clinical Director. Volunteer support for training and recovery events was provided by Sally Pallas, Neil Sweeney and Georgia Pallas. The RMAS event is planned and organised by Sue Hyde, and both she and event officials provided their services to the event free of charge. Major Rebecca Harrison manages all activity at RMA Sandhurst and the involvement and support of The British Army Pentathlon Team.