Worthing ex-serviceman shows true grit at competition

A DOUBLE AMPUTEE and father-of-two wants to raise awareness of a fitness workout that has helped him regain his independence.

Murray Hambro (right) with coach Barnaby Gehlcken
Murray Hambro (right) with coach Barnaby Gehlcken

Murray Hambro, 35, from High Salvington, went to the USA to take part in a CrossFit competition as part of the True Grit Initiative.

While serving in Afghanistan, in 2010, the vehicle in which he was travelling on a routine patrol drove over an explosive device.

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“That sent me 45 feet up in the air doing my best superman impression,” he said.

Murray Hambro training

He was immediately flown back to the UK and it was decided both his feet needed amputating because of the severity of his injuries.

Asked how he copes five years on from the accident, he said: “For me, it’s all about setting myself goals.

“From the point of injury my first goal was to get up walking again.”

After that he set up a goal of getting back to his beloved motorbike racing and then to start running.

“My next goal was to be able to walk down the aisle unaided on my wedding day,” he said.

It was from the need to get fit for his motorbike racing that he began taking part in CrossFit at a gym in Hove.

There he met his coach Barnaby Gehlcken who later spotted a CrossFit competition on Facebook.

Initially set for the UK, the competition was then moved to Washington.

People with different disabilities took part in the fitness competition, which aims to support adaptive athletes through sport, community and education.

“It’s purely just disabled people doing the CrossFit competition,” said Murray.

He said it was ‘phenomenal’ to see people with all sorts of disabilities taking part in a range of CrossFit activities.

“I thought my injuries were insignificant compared to some of the others,” he said.

“I managed to get second place in the competition and I was very pleased with that.”

The competition included cardio-based workouts, weight lifting and SkiErg – a punishing workout based on Nordic skiing, which Murray described as ‘like rowing and skiing all in one’.

“I was just there to compete and take in the whole thing,” he said. He also managed to raise $2,000 for the Crossroads charity.

Now back in High Salvington, Murray said he was working on his next challenge.

“I’m trying to think of my next adventure,” he said.

After coming across the benefits of adaptive sports, he said he now wanted to promote the True Grit Initiative for other injured servicemen and women.

“If there are any other guys in the same situation struggling with depression or whatever, they can use adaptive sports as a coping mechanism,” he said.

Most importantly though, the continual seeking of goals and competing has helped him get on with his life despite his injuries.

“I’m not reliant on other people which is a really key thing for me,” he said.

He lives with his wife Hannah and their two sons Harley, two, and their six-month son Louis.

The True Grit Initiative aims to offer free gym usage to wounded servicemen and women across the UK via CrossFit Boxes.

Visit http://truegrit101.com to find out more.

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