Former marine takes on ride across USA

Help 4 Heros, RAAM 2017 Launch at Tedworth House, Tidwoth, UK. Adam Clarke from Banbury will be taking on the Race Across America for Help For Heroes NNL-170425-165034001

Help 4 Heros, RAAM 2017 Launch at Tedworth House, Tidwoth, UK. Adam Clarke from Banbury will be taking on the Race Across America for Help For Heroes NNL-170425-165034001

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A former military man from Banbury could be cycling 3,000 miles across 12 states in aid of Help For Heroes.

Adam Clarke, 35, who lives with hearing loss and a hip injury following 13 years of service in the Marines, hopes to take on the Race Across America (RAAM), from June 17.

A team of eight wounded, injured or sick military personnel aims to raise £100,000 for the charity, which has helped them rebuild their lives.

Starting in Oceanside, under one of the longest piers in California, RAAM spans 3,000 miles, climbs 175,000 feet, crosses 12 states and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland.

The team hopes to complete the challenge in seven days and will need to maintain an average speed of over 18.3 miles per hour. The RAAM is considered to be the world’s toughest endurance cycling events.

The team will also have two reserves. The final eight riders will be selected in the next few weeks with the remaining two to join the support crew.

Mr Clarke hopes to be one of the eight. His injuries mean he cannot stand for long periods of time, but he discovered a love for cycling.

He said: “I started cycling after my injuries. I couldn’t do any physical for a year, which affected me psychologically as well. Someone said to get a bike so I did and fell in love with it. That was at the end of 2012. By 2014 I ended up competing in the Invictus Games in London.”

He added after hearing about the Race Across America, he knew if the opportunity came up to take part, he would want to take it.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “As bike racing goes, it doesn’t get much bigger, especially for a non-professional.”

Mr Clarke, who has served in Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, said: “Since I first heard about the race I knew it would be an epic challenge and something to work towards.

“I want to showcase what we can still achieve after injury, to both others in the same position and to those who provide the support needed for our recovery.

“Being part of a team where we push ourselves beyond the limit is what attracted me to joining the Marines and I see this as being no different.”

The team is made up of people with physical and psychological wounds who will push themselves to the limit.

The team will be captained by former 40 Commando Royal Marine and now military Paralympian Joe Townsend, of Eastbourne.

The 29-year-old was injured in 2008 after standing on an improvised explosive device and lost both of his legs in the blast.

Following 14 hours of surgery at Camp Bastion, he was flown back to the UK where he spent five weeks in a critical care ward.

Lead strength and conditioning coach at Help for Heroes, Jon-Paul Nevin, said: “A challenge like Race Across America helps to emphasise the power of sport in the recovery process for our wounded, injured and sick.

“Sport is incredibly powerful as a means of rebuilding confidence and providing a sense of empowerment, as well as aiding physical and mental recovery. By taking part in this epic feat and demonstrating their strength and determination in both training for and completing this challenge, the riders will hopefully inspire many others who are trying to rebuild their life post-injury.”

To support the charity, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk/give-support.