Rowing Marine heads for heights on triathlon

By Sarah Pitt   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 3rd August 2022 7:00 pm
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Lee Spencer is climbing the Welsh, English and Scottish highest peaks to raise money for the Royal Marines Charity. Pictures by Anthony Upton (Anthony Upton )

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HORRABRIDGE’S ‘Rowing Marine’ Lee Spencer is making good progress on his Triathlon of Great Britain, reaching Wales on Monday, with 383 miles of cycling under his belt, before scaling Wales’ highest mountain.

He scaled Snowdon during Monday, the highest mountain peak in Wales.On Tuesday, he had cycled as far as Scarfell in the Lake District, which has the distinction of being England’s highest peak.

From there, he will be cycling on over the Scottish border to head for Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain.

The challenge is seeing him ride a total of 1,036 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats at the northernmost tip of Scotland as part of his Triathlon of Great Britain

Lee has broken records rowing across the Atlantic, but this is an entirely new challenge for him.

He has already had a setback in the first stage of the challenge, which was to swim across the English Channel, which he had to abandon last week after six hours in the water as condition were too rough.

He tweeted at the time: ‘Some things are not meant to be and today I wasn’t meant to cross the English Channel.

‘Due to tide and sea conditions that were out of my ability range, I was struggling to maintain forward momentum. I only managed less than half a mile in the third hour.’

His cycling challenge is not without difficulties either.

Lee undertakes sporting challenges to raise money for the Royal Marines Charity but also to challenge the the limitations of disability and the stigma surrounding them.

Lee survived three tours of duty in Afghanistan only to lose part of his right leg after he was hit by flying debris when he stopped to help a motorist on the side of the road. Even his ‘good leg’ – the left one – was severely injured in the incident and had to have a full knee reconstruction.

As a spokesperson for Lee explained, this made his current cycling challenge all the more difficult.

‘The good leg takes 85% of the pedal power, but his movement is restricted as he can’t fully straighten or bend the knee which in turn means he can’t get out of his saddle for extra power uphill.’

It is the challenging aspect of it, though, which keeps him going.

He is known for becoming the first disabled person to row from Europe to South America solo and unsupported and for being part of the world’s first physically disabled crew to row an ocean.

The holder of the British Empire Medal, his motto is ‘dare to dream and if you don’t fail, you are not dreaming big enough, he is on a mission to prove to all those who live with a disabilty that they don’t need to be defined by it.

He says: ‘I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations, especially anyone with a disability.

‘I feel passionately about challenging this stigma and proving no one should be defined by disability. ‘

He is on course to complete his challenge on August 9 at Spean Bridge in Scotand.

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