Joe Townsend

Joe Townsend lost both his legs after stepping on an IED plate whilst serving with 40 Commando in Afghanistan in 2008, aged 19.

Joe recently competed in the Invictus Games winning 4 Gold Medals and was awarded the Exceptional Performance Award by Games sponsors, Jaguar.  Of the games Joe stated 'It's great to be in the team; I'm competing for my country in the sporting field now, not the battlefield'.

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Shortly after his 18th Birthday, Joe realised his life-long ambition when he passed out as a Royal Marine Commando in June 2006. While out serving with 40 Commando, Royal Marines as part of Operation Herrick 7, Joe suffered life-altering injuries when he stepped on an IED.

From February 2008, he spent five and a half months at, what was then, the Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, 6 weeks of which was spent in intensive care. After being moved in July 2008 to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey, Joe spent the best part of three years in rehabilitation and racking up over 50 surgical operations to date.

Unsatisfied with leading a life entirely dissimilar to that which he experienced with the Royal Marines, Joe endeavoured to gain back the fitness levels he had enjoyed as a Commando.

As testament to his efforts, in less than 7 months Joe completed the Ironman UK and became the first and only wheelchair athlete to complete one of the toughest Ironman courses in the world, which included a 2.4 mile swim, 112m cycling and 26.2 miles running. He has since completed Ironman UK for a second time and remains the only wheelchair athlete to have done so.

In addition to his Ironman exploits, Joe has competed as a Para-Athlete which has enabled him to continue to serve his country, having competed for Team GB at the European Para-triathlon Championships in 2012 as well as flying the Paralympics flame into the Olympic stadium.

Not only is Joe a hopeful for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, he has also started a strength and conditioning science degree at UCL with the ultimate goal of being in the position to help train people in a similar position to himself achieve beyond what is deemed achievable.

Despite such adversity, Joe's positivity and determination has led him to achieve some remarkable feats of endeavour and make him an inspiration for others overcoming adversity.

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