A WAR hero who lost both his legs in an explosion has battled back to take part in a gruelling endurance contest.
Stevie Richardson was on patrol in Afghanistan when he suffered life-threatening injuries after stepping on an improvised explosive device four years ago.
The 26-year-old spent four weeks recovering in a Birmingham hospital before being able to travel home. He has now set his sights on a punishing Spartan Race, a 5k run and assault course, which is being held at Winton House, near Pencaitland, East Lothian, next month.
Stevie has been in training five times a week in a bid to get into shape and has promised to “smash the course” when he joins up with fellow amputees James Simpson, 28, and Jake Bartlett, 23, to take part in the arduous annual event.
The three former servicemen became friends after meeting while recovering from injuries at the army rehabilitation centre at Headley Court, in Surrey.
Mr Richardson, from Tranent, East Lothian, said: “James did it last year and I was looking into doing it myself when we decided to pull together and do it as a team.
“We will be using stubbies – shorter prosthetic legs – which is about as low-tech as it gets. In terms of mud there is nothing that can go wrong, but we will be at a disadvantage in terms of height for reaching things and for stride length.
“I’ve been training five times a week and I walk for miles around the Pentland and Lammermuir hills with my dogs, so I feel pretty fit and confident.”
Race organiser Dan Tuffnell has described the commitment of the three amputees as “inspirational” after watching them go through a gruelling training session at a Leeds gym where they lifted dead weights, tipped a tractor tyre and performed handstand push-ups.
Mr Tuffnell said: “These guys are an absolute inspiration to us all. It is an honour to put on this event for them to come and have a challenge with us – it is awe-inspiring for me.
“They are going to smash all the obstacles this year. I have every confidence in them.”