A former Scots Guard from Richmond is part of a military charity team that will take on one of the world’s toughest endurance cycling events, the epic 3,000-mile Race Across America (RAAM).
Wil Browning is one of 14 injured veterans, plus four volunteers, who are taking on the challenge. As well as being on the cycling team, Wil is the Team Captain.
Fourteen members of the team all suffer physical wounds and will push themselves to the limit both physically and mentally in the pursuit of finishing the RAAM in under nine days.
After a two-year postponement due to Covid, the first Blesma organised team will set off on 18 June and will collectively cycle 3,000 miles from the Pacific coast in the west to the Atlantic coast in the east.
Starting in Oceanside, the race will cross 12 states, climbing more than 190,000 feet across the Rockies and the Appalachians before finishing in Annapolis, Maryland. The team will even have to cross deserts where temperatures can reach 45°C.
Wil lost his left hand and arm as a result of a rare vascular condition that led to amputation and also suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“I’ve been cycling since the age of 11. I wasn’t going to let my amputation stop me. Cycling gives me freedom and it allows me the time to not think.
“Taking part in RAAM as part of an amputee team would show others that cycling is totally inclusive. Riding my bike with one hand has shown that there is ability through disability.”
“As a team, we want to cross America safety as a team and show that disability is not a destination or a barrier to taking part in tough physical, mental events. It’s an opportunity to do it differently. Taking part in RAAM as part of an amputee and paralysed team shows others that cycling is totally inclusive. I know riding my bike with one hand has shown that there is ability through disability.”
Team Captain Wil Browning said the team have been working hard and sticking to their training.
“We have had to adapt and learn to live with so much uncertainty, but we always had the belief that one-day RAAM would happen.
“Everyone has worked hard. It’s a massive challenge. We will visit some emotionally dark places and will have to dig deep to pull through. We all share a nervous excitement.”
To support the team, please visit www.blesma.org/donate