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Team True Spirit: Wounded Servicemen to Conquer Ironman UK


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Team True Spirit is a group of injured servicemen, backed up by a team of expert physiotherapists, ordinary folk and volunteers that have, fittingly, "banded together" to make a difference to their lives and those of others. With specific regards to the injured soldiers, the echo of comradeship in Henry V's speech reverberates in their enclave and defines the collective experience that binds them together.

Founded last year, this cohort, true to its name, began an arduous and ongoing programme of rehabilitation, which culminated in their successful participation in the gruelling Ironman UK triathlon. Composed of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon, the event, which must be completed in an exigent 17 hours, is considered to be one of the toughest and most recognised endurance events in the world.

There's a great line in William Shakespeare's Henry V that has become popular courtesy of a Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks TV miniseries: "From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered, we band of brothers."

It's a powerful passage of writing that goes some way to capturing the unique bond between soldiers that few can ever truly comprehend. In serving their country, men and women risk their lives for the greater good. This much is clear. As such, they understand war in a way that ordinary civilians simply cannot. Of course, as sad as it is, tragedy is inevitable. Soldiers are killed and injured in the line of duty... lest we forget.

By completing various endurance races and events, the team hope to inspire others to believe that anything is possible.

Their participation is threefold - to show that the human spirit is indestructible; raise awareness of the plight of injured servicemen and help them make the transition back to normal life; and raise invaluable donations for charities.

This year will see Team True Spirit enter 50 competitors who have been following a strict fitness regime, which usually starts at around five in the morning, continues with a cycle into work and culminates in more training in the evening.

As demanding as it is, the support staff push themselves to the limit, knowing that many of the soldiers they will be completing the challenge with are putting themselves through the same exercises, in spite of the fact that many of them have lost one, two or three limbs in combat in Afghanistan, while others have suffered equally debilitating injuries. Spirit? This team has plenty of it, and then some.

Last year was seminal for another reason - it was the first time that Ironman UK had allowed such a large number of injured people to participate. It does come with a certain stipulation however, which is that each injured participant must have an able-bodied helper with them. On race day you will see small groups of the team together on the course, small units ensuring all is well and safe for the team to continue.

Anything is impossible, even against all the odds, the true definition of human spirit. Like how Vince Lombardi, the famous American Football coach, saw it, the will to win and the will to excel are things that endure: "These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur."

"Team True Spirit challenged my own limiting beliefs and showed me that anything is possible with enough grit and determination. The nation owes them a great debt, not only for their sacrifice in the service of our country but for all they continue to do to inspire."


The team has raised over £31k which is simply amazing, it would be sensational if we could get close to £40,000 which is double what we thought we might just achieve originally.

Team True Spirit Athletes

Joe Townsend
Simon Harmer
David Richmond
Cameron Angus
Craig Preece
Sadie Melling
Simon Maxwell

Mark Allen
Steve McCulley
Steve Caton
Jaco Van Gass
Ayla Atun
Steve Richardson
Bob Toomey
Mike Goody

You can show Team True Spirit your support
You can visit their website at: www.truespirit.org.uk
You can send them a note of encouragement or cheer them on via Facebook or Twitter.
If you care to make a donation to their fundraising visit: www.justgiving.com/teams/teamtruespirit