Several scientific studies show that goal setting is psychologically important for your wellbeing. That sense of working towards something, testing yourself alongside like-minded others, is what Forces Wives Challenge (FWC) is all about…

Founded by Heather Sharp, FWC is a social enterprise that unites women who have partners in the armed forces through adventure and challenge. It seeks to build resilience, boost confidence and foster friendships to help its 1,000-plus members tackle the challenges of service life together.

From summiting Pen y Fan in Wales to open water swimming in Devon, to climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Ojos del Salado in Chile, FWC has now delivered 26 events and raised more than £60,000 for charity.


Earlier this year, a 12-strong FWC team became the world’s first all-female group to recreate the Heroes of Telemark journey across Norway’s Hardangervidda Plateau – one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth.

Jemma was one of those who took on the challenge, she says: “I think I naturally have a want for adventure, my job as a paediatric nurse reminds me that life is too short and that we should grasp every opportunity.

“Being in such a stark environment gave me such peace and clarity. It was perfect for reflection but also just being in the moment. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much than I did in the time spent with this amazing bunch of women. Pushing through, proving to yourself you can do anything you put your mind to, gave me a whole new confidence.

“It’s so special to have a community of like-minded women who spend their time uplifting and encouraging each other but that also have a mutual understanding of the struggles and frustrations of military life.”

Special group

Helen (main photo: pictured left with fellow member Kate) had once learned Nordic skiing with the Honourable Artillery Company but had not taken on any form of challenge since having children 13 years ago: “I think putting myself in a situation I couldn’t predict the outcome of got me completely out of my comfort zone. It made me more open to trying new things, which has definitely helped me to be far more positive. The confidence from meeting wonderful people in the same boat who totally get you is amazing and has transferred into my normal non-FWC life! We had a great WhatsApp group where we’d share videos of ourselves training in all types of weather all over the country.”

Beating loneliness

Meanwhile Jen cites her struggles with isolation during her fiancé’s deployment as a reason to join. “Living far away from friends and family and feeling like a bystander to life, I searched for help through FWC. I was suddenly part of a team of amazing women, everyone was cheering the other on in all aspects of life. I’ve never met women like it, a true force. Signing up to FWC was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s a fabulous community which can take you anywhere – there’s an event for everyone, wild swimming, mountain climbing, ultra running and a whole bunch of members who are there to pick you up when things get tough!”

Sign up for adventure at or follow on Instagram @forces_wives_challenge

Lizzi Keeton has been married to her soldier for four years and recently joined FWC. In February, she’ll be taking part in the Royal British Legion’s Arctic Survival Challenge. Here’s why…

“I find the feats of FWC inspiring and I think it’s important to remember that we can have our own goals and challenges to celebrate. After being diagnosed with a rare airway disease last year whilst pregnant, I had to have four major surgeries, resulting in a period of poor mental health. Another FWC member inspired me to join the challenge where I will be pushed to my limits, learning to survive in a harsh environment. It’s already had an extremely positive impact on my physical and mental health despite the obstacles that army life has thrown my way. I’m super excited to be part of such an amazing event, doing something worthwhile and pushing myself to see what I’m capable of, not just as a worker, a wife or a mum but just as ‘Lizzi’.”

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