A FORMER Army sniper who lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan has set his sights on the Chester Half Marathon.
Pete Bowker, of Handbridge, is also hoping to become the first amputee to ski 600km across a polar bear-infested icecap in Greenland next year and plans to climb Everest in 2016.
The 27-year-old was part of a reconnaissance team with the Welsh Cavalry in Helmund Province when his vehicle drove over a roadside bomb on December 5, 2008.
The explosion left him and two pals with horrific leg injuries – but amazingly he now views the incident as a “second chance” to make the most of his life.
Pete, who supports war-injured charity Help For Heroes, told the Leader: “It’s been a rough ride but I'm alright now. It’s definitely a second chance for me. I just hope I get a better time than my girlfriend, Rebecca, who is running with me!”
Pete has been in training for weeks ahead of the event on Sunday, May 18, and uses a special blade on his right leg.
He said the moment the bomb exploded beneath his team’s Mastiff vehicle had been surreal, but he remembered every moment.
“It’s still as clear as day to me,” he said. “I was having a conversation and then suddenly the roof of the vehicle was much closer to me than before and I had ringing in my ear. I checked my hands and ‘package’ to make sure they were ok first, then looked down and saw my leg was bent at 90 degrees. I had to straighten it out; the pain was pretty horrific. The guy next to me lost both of his legs and another lost his left leg below the knee.”
Pete, who underwent an amputation in 2011, said the Chester Half Marathon would be good fitness training ahead of the Greenland exhibition.
Named ‘65 Degrees North’, he and a team will endure temperatures of minus 37 degrees, and will have to carry their own food, clothing and survival equipment.
The word record attempt will see them trek from Kangerlussuaq in the West to Kulusuk in the East.
For more information visit Pete’s Facebook page called ‘65 Degrees North’.