Injured solider to embark on cycle challenge

CHALLENGE Simon Harmer
CHALLENGE Simon Harmer
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SERGENT Simon Harmer, who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan, will ride more than 3,000 miles across America this month.

Sgt Harmer, 36, will take part in the Race Across America (RAAM) challenge with seven other wounded servicemen on June 16.

Sgt Harmer, who trained at Fort Blockhouse in Gosport as part of the 33 Field Hospital, was injured by a makeshift bomb in Helmand Province while he was out on foot patrol in 1999.

Doctors initially feared he would lose his life but he proved them wrong and has since learned to walk on two prosthetic legs.

He will take part in the race on a hand bike.

The keen sportsman, from Kings Worthy, Winchester, said: ‘When I first heard about the challenge, I didn’t think I would be strong enough to deal with the training but now we’re about to depart I can’t quite believe it.

‘I hope by competing in this challenge we’re showing others that there is a life after injury.’

The heroic race covers 3,051 miles across 12 states with a total climb of 100,000 vertical feet.

His Help for Heroes team, which has been put through a gruelling training programme with the aim of completing the challenge in just eight days, will cycle 350–500 miles a day, racing non–stop over a distance which is 30 per cent longer than the Tour de France.

And they will be raising money for the charity along the way.

The team will be led by Jonpaul Nevin. He said: ‘The team have been through an intensive training programme which is completely bespoke due to the severe nature of their injuries. It’s going to be a huge test for everyone of the riders but having a goal to achieve is vital in recovery.’ To donate, text RAAM to 70900 to donate £5 or go to bmycharity.com/battlebackraam2012.