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Injured soldiers prepare to take on Dakar Rally

October 8th, 2013
01:49 PM ET

Captain Tony Harris had only been in Afghanistan for a month in 2009, when his life changed forever.

A veteran of Northern Ireland and Iraq, the father of two was on patrol in Sangin in the Helmand Province when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED).

The blast threw Harris 20 meters from the vehicle and shattered both of his heels.

After 10 months of surgery to try to save his feet, Harris decided to have his left leg amputated below the knee.

Four years on, Harris now sees the loss of his leg as what he calls a "good thing".

The reason, he says, is because it drove him to establish Race2Recovery, a team of injured soldiers which made history in January this year as the first disabled team to finish the grueling Dakar Rally.

"I really wanted to put the day I got injured into the past, " Harris says. "I wanted something else where I could say okay that happened but I've done other stuff now and actually I can remember that stuff much more positively and in hindsight, actually if I hadn't lost my leg, I wouldn't have gone to the Dakar."

Race2Recovery's Dakar debut was meant to be a one-off event to raise money for Help For Heroes and the Tedworth House Concept, but the team has since become a professional outfit and come Dakar 2014, they'll not only be aiming to finish, but to be among the first across the line.


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