Royal Marine Joe finishes US race

Wounded Royal Marine  Joe Townsend at the event.
Wounded Royal Marine Joe Townsend at the event.

IT has been a long and very difficult journey for a wounded Royal Marine to work out his life after losing both legs in an explosion whilst fighting for Queen and country in Afghanistan.

Hero Joe Townsend, aged 24, from Westham near Pevensey, has shown even more bravery after he joined a team of British wounded servicemen to complete the world’s toughest cycling race across America ahead of schedule, and smashing their target.

Joe Townsend was on a hand bike as part of ‘Team Battle Back’, supported by charity Help for Heroes, who were warmly welcomed into Annapolis, MD on Saturday evening (June 23) after completing the 3,051 mile Race Across America (RAAM) in just seven days, seven hours and 59 minutes with an average speed of more than 17mph.

He said: “It’s been a tough eight days but it’s a huge achievement to have got this far.  Kansas was definitely the toughest part, with the heat and barren landscape. 

“It feels awesome to have completed the RAAM.” 

Every rider in Team Battle Back has been either wounded on operations or injured in training, including four double amputees who have tackled the race on hand bikes. This is the first time British military wounded have attempted the race and they have been competing against both professional and amateur cyclists as well as a team of US wounded.

Since June 16, the team cycled 3,051 miles, non-stop, 24 hours per day, in temperatures of up to 45C and through 12 states from Oceanside CA before arriving in Annapolis MD. The team are raising money for Help for Heroes to give back to other wounded service personnel. 

Text RAAM to 70900 to donate £5 or leave a donation at www.bmycharity.com/battlebackraam2012. See (Twitter): @BB_RAAM2012 and Facebook.