Race Across America - Joe Townsend at the finish line

Joe Townsend

Joe's Story

Royal Marine, Joe Townsend was injured in 2008, during Op HERRICK 7 after standing on an anti-tank mine which was buried just below ground. Joe lost both of his legs in the blast.

He said: 'There was a loud bang. I felt myself thrown up in the air. I landed on the ground and tried to sit up and compose myself but I couldn’t. Then all the lads swarmed round me and started patching me up. I looked down and could see what had happened to me. I was cracking jokes at the time. I said, "I seem to have trouble finding my legs".'

Joe was immediately flown back to Camp Bastion and then onto Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where he spent five weeks in a critical care ward. Since 2008, Joe has helped inspire the current generation of wounded and show there really is life after injury.

3,021 miles of determination

Joe is determined not to let his injury get the better of him and has competed in many endurance races including the Bolton Iron Man, twice, and various other triathlons. In June 2012, Joe took on the world’s toughest cycling race, RAAM, cycling over 3,000 miles across America with seven other wounded servicemen raising money for Help for Heroes.

Joe has been supported by Help for Heroes since he was first injured, enabling him to compete as an international athlete and his goal is to take part in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Help for Heroes has been able to support Joe by paying for specialist equipment and competition entry, among other things, through their Quick Reaction Fund.