BEYOND INJURY, ACHIEVING THE EXTRAORDINARY

"The Mark of Man isn't the Manner in which he falls... But the Manner in which he rises."

For Tony Harris the journey through hell led to the greatest adventure of his life, an adventure that has just begun and has allowed him to pursue excellence in another field... Motorsport! 

MY BIO

Tony served as an officer in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, an infantry regiment in the British Army, for 10 years. Having served on operations in Northern Ireland and Iraq for almost 700 cumulative days Tony led a Fire Support Group as part of the 2RIFLES Battle Group to Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in the summer of 2009. In what was to become the bloodiest summer of the British military’s operations in Afghanistan Tony's vehicle was struck by an explosion in the remote desert east of Sangin whilst conducting operations against Taleban forces.

 The bomb blast threw Tony more than 20 metres from his vehicle, shattering both his feet and his left arm, thankfully no one else was injured. In difficult surroundings and having just finished a fire fight with the enemy Tony’s soldiers set to work stabilising and preparing him for the emergency helicopter evacuation back to Camp Bastion. His second child, Emily, had been born just two weeks before and Tony still hadn’t seen her.

 After an emotional reunion with his young family Tony underwent more than 20 operations due to chronic infection over a nine month period to save his left foot, all to no avail. The pain, lack of mobility and haze of drugs reinforced the decision that Tony and his family would make together. In March 2010 Tony’s left leg was amputated and his path to recovery began.

 Climbing Pen-y-Fan in Wales just eight weeks after his amputation proved to Tony that he could still lead an active and rewarding life but that he had limitations due to his injuries. Inspired to prove that injuries do not define an individual or their future Tony and two of his friends began putting together a team to conquer the Atlantic Ocean. Row2Recovery was born. This team of four other injured servicemen and two able bodied veterans successfully completed their 3,000 mile challenge in January 2012 and raised over £1.2M for service charities proving that they could go beyond injury and achieve the extraordinary. Read more about this incredible journey at www.row2recovery.com

 Tony meanwhile was setting up his own inspirational endeavour, Race2Recovery. Together with other injured soldiers from the UK and US they were set on becoming the first ever disablity team to complete the world’s hardest motor race – the Dakar Rally. Despite the name the Dakar moved from Africa to South America in 2009. The new route hosts a greater variety of terrain, altitude and difficulty than the original Saharan route and is recognised as the pinnacle of endurance motorsports.

 The team received sponsorship from big names like Land Rover, Bosch, Google, Castrol Edge and were thrilled when they became the first ever recipients of the newly founded “Endeavour Fund” established by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. With four cars starting the race it was always going to be an epic challenge just to finish the Dakar and so it came to pass with just one of the four cars completing the 8,500km course having raced at altitudes of 4,900m in the Andes, navigated the Atacama Desert and steered their way through Peru, Argentina and Chile. Despite the attrition rate the team succeeded in their goal of completing the race, inspiring others with their actions and demonstrating the teamwork and motivation required to push the boundaries of the possible. To see more about the race and the team visit www.race2recovery.com

 Tony is continuing his work with Race2Recovery and is already planning his next assault on the Dakar among other rallies. He is also now working as a motivational speaker travelling to conferences and events all over the world having spoken as an ambassador of the products, services and ethos of many of the Race2Recovery sponsors and is championing employment opportunities for injured service personnel and veterans.

 Recently elected by the members Tony is now a trustee of the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association (BLESMA). Tony was also privileged to have been chosen to drive the Royal Car during the London 2012 Paralympic Closing Ceremony, is confidently teaching his children that swimming in circles is definitely normal and is looking forward to his future endeavours.

TESTIMONIALS

“We know it was not easy, but you have today become true record holders as the first ever disability team to complete what is one of the world's toughest challenges. What you have achieved was a triumph of perseverance and teamwork, and you have shown the world what true courage looks like. “

HRH The Duke of Cambridge,
January 2013

“What an experience the R2R team had – the press coverage is still rolling in. We all applaud your record breaking achievement and are thankful that you all returned safely.“

Head of Automotive OE UK Marketing,
Robert Bosch UK

LATEST UPDATES

PLEASE DONATE

Please consider donating to a charity that has helped me, my family and my friends and remains close to my heart, if you can.