Ex-Army sergeant from Cambridge whose leg was crushed by tank sets cycling world record
A former Army sergeant from Cambridge who lost his leg following a battle exercise has set a new world record for cycling.
Wayne Harrod, 50, had his left leg crushed by a tank, and left the Army in 2011 after a 25-year career.
After developing a passion for cycling, he was selected for the Invictus Games, before setting his sights on self-funding a bid to try to beat the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) hour world record.
The challenge is to ride as many miles around a velodrome in one hour and, after spending thousands of pounds and more than two years of preparation, Wayne finally achieved his goal with the aid of some borrowed wheels.
Now a gardener who tends the Commonwealth War Graves commission cemetery in Cambridge, Wayne covered a distance of 42.460km at the Derby velodrome to eclipse the previous best by Irishman Colin Lynch set in 2016.
“Two years ago I was bought a book called The Hour by Bradley Wiggins as a Christmas present,” Wayne said. “I really looked into the history of it and how much of a prestigious challenge it is. It is one of the hardest cycling challenges you can do, it is solely you, the bike and the hour. So I started to race in the velodrome at Derby and in London Lee Valley.
“During the Invictus Games in 2018 I announced to friends and family that for 2019/20 I was going to go for this world record. I spoke in depth to Colin Lynch and he gave me some really good advice, especially telling me to get loads of consistent time and laps on the velodrome boards. All this I did between family life and my racing series.
“I knew I would have a very good chance at getting the record. I self-funded the whole attempt and set up a JustGiving page to help raise some of the funds. The JustGiving donations raised £2,400 but that does not cover the cost of anti-doping.
“You have to be tested five times – those five tests alone cost £6,800, and that is before you get on the bike. I raised the rest by working to pay off the bills. The final cost was more because you have to book venues and it is all done through the UCI. It took over nine months of planning just to do the record.”
He added: “A total of 42km is equal to 168 laps I had to beat and in my hour I did 171 laps. I had to wait about three minutes before I was told I had done it. It was a fantastic feeling – two years in the making, nine months build-up and training just for that one hour.
“You have to dig deep after 45 minutes because it is a dark place – the last 15 minutes was tough and I had to raise the bar again.
“Everything bike-wise had to be authorised too. It had to be a bike that could be bought in a shop. The only thing I didn’t have was the wheels, so I borrowed them from the events manager at Derby.”
Having set the record and got an MC4 category ride to the top of the para-cycling tree, he does not want it to stand forever.
“Passionately, I hope my record does not stand for all time. I hope somebody digs deep and goes for it. I want other people to challenge it.
“But it was a moment I shall never forget.”