‘We knew we would get the medals’ - former Soham soldier Wayne Harrod talks winning bronze for Team GB and future ambitions after Invictus Games triumph

PUBLISHED: 10:45 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:28 26 October 2018

Former Soham soldier Wayne Harrold, 48 (right), claimed the bronze medal in the men’s road cycling IRB2 time trial at the Invictus Games while British teammates Steve Sebburn (centre) won gold and Karl Allen-Dobson silver.

Former Soham soldier Wayne Harrold, 48 (right), claimed the bronze medal in the men’s road cycling IRB2 time trial at the Invictus Games while British teammates Steve Sebburn (centre) won gold and Karl Allen-Dobson silver.

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“We knew we would get the medals – we just didn’t know in what order!” begins Wayne Harrod, a former Soham soldier who lost his leg after being hit by an 11-ton tank several years ago.

Former Soham soldier Wayne Harrold, 48, claimed the bronze medal in the men�s road cycling IRB2 time trial at the Invictus Games. Picture: THEO COHENFormer Soham soldier Wayne Harrold, 48, claimed the bronze medal in the men�s road cycling IRB2 time trial at the Invictus Games. Picture: THEO COHEN

After a year of hard work and training, he became one of three medal-winning Team GB cyclists at this year’s Invictus Games.

“We knew we were really strong and that’s how we felt all year,” he adds, talking from Sydney a few days after claiming the bronze medal in the men’s road cycling IRB2 time trial alongside Steve Sebburn – who achieved gold – and silver medal-winner Karl Allen-Dobson.

Having trained as a trio throughout the year, the former Colour Sergeant who left the army in 2011 after a 25-year career was confident that that they would be successful.

Wayne Harrod (far right), of Soham, won a bronze medal for #TeamUK in the Invictus Games men’s road cycling IRB2 time trial. He is pictured with gold medal winner Steve Sebburn and Karl Allen-Dobson (centre) who won silver. Picture: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE.Wayne Harrod (far right), of Soham, won a bronze medal for #TeamUK in the Invictus Games men’s road cycling IRB2 time trial. He is pictured with gold medal winner Steve Sebburn and Karl Allen-Dobson (centre) who won silver. Picture: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE.

Despite having his leg crushed by a Spartan-tracked reconnaissance vehicle during an exercise on Salisbury Plain in 2001, Wayne was one of 22 British competitors in the UK cycling team.

Working with the support of various charities to start a new career as a gardener after leaving, Wayne soon felt that the time was right to take on another challenge.

His new passion for cycling led to selection for the Invictus Games, where fellow injured veterans and serving servicemen and women compete for their countries.

Former Soham soldier Wayne Harrold, 48, claimed the bronze medal in the men�s road cycling IRB2 time trial at the Invictus Games while British teammates Steve Sebburn won gold and Karl Allen-Dobson silver.Former Soham soldier Wayne Harrold, 48, claimed the bronze medal in the men�s road cycling IRB2 time trial at the Invictus Games while British teammates Steve Sebburn won gold and Karl Allen-Dobson silver.

“To get the medal on the day was fantastic,” he says; “after a whole year’s worth of training, planning and discipline… it’s not just a time trial, it’s about teamwork and movement too.”

Having completed the race in three minute three seconds, he says “I did everything the coach asked.” Training together for more than a year, the three of them entered the competition with the right attitude: “We knew we would have a strong start and a good position as a UK team,” Wayne says.

“We did many different styles of training including turbo trainer, road training, indoor and outdoor. We’ve worked really closely with the coach and the whole event was planned.”

Pictured left to right: Daniel Marsden, prosthetic technician Steven Holten, Wayne Harrod, Eilidh Hannah and Maighread IrelandPictured left to right: Daniel Marsden, prosthetic technician Steven Holten, Wayne Harrod, Eilidh Hannah and Maighread Ireland

Before flying to Australia, the team at Cambridge University Hospital (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with the Prosthetic and Orthotics provider Opcare, designed a custom-made prosthetic leg for Wayne.

Unlike other competitions though, Wayne, Karl and Steve only met the other competitors from the different countries on the day. “It’s the different nature of the beast,” he considers, having worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, based at Cambridge City Cemetery, for the past six years.

“If you take away the injuries you know they are going to be really good riders as they are representing their country. “We knew it was going to be a hard event with really good riders but, after the last training camp, we felt that we were in a very strong position.

Wayne Harrod (far right), of Soham, won a bronze medal for #TeamUK in the Invictus Games men’s road cycling IRB2 time trial. He is pictured with gold medal winner Steve Sebburn and Karl Allen-Dobson (centre) who won silver. Picture: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE.Wayne Harrod (far right), of Soham, won a bronze medal for #TeamUK in the Invictus Games men’s road cycling IRB2 time trial. He is pictured with gold medal winner Steve Sebburn and Karl Allen-Dobson (centre) who won silver. Picture: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE.

“I’ve known the other two guys for a year now; we know each other’s strong points and weak points. We warmed up together, trained together and even ate meals together.”

Before flying to Australia, the team at Cambridge University Hospital (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with the Prosthetic and Orthotics provider Opcare, designed a custom-made prosthetic leg for Wayne.

And what would he say to those thinking of getting into a sport like cycling? “It doesn’t matter what your abilities are. If you want to clear your mind then cycling is one of the easiest sports.

Wayne Harrod compelted a charity bike ride in five horus and seven minutes to raise funds for the Poppy Factory in 2017Wayne Harrod compelted a charity bike ride in five horus and seven minutes to raise funds for the Poppy Factory in 2017

“It gives you freedom, gets you outdoors and keeps you healthy.”

But what’s next now he’s become a medal-winner? “For me, personally, I’m going to get into the velodrome to do some track racing. At Christmas I’m competing in the international metre race in the C4 class and then the national championship in January in the same class.”

Before then, though, Wayne is taking a break. “I’ve got two weeks where I’m not going to touch a bike or train. I’m just getting to let my body recover.”

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall hosts a reception in her home at Clarence House for the Poppy Factory supporters, volunteers, veterans and staff. She is pictured with former Soham soldier Wayne Harrod. Photo Ian JonesHRH The Duchess of Cornwall hosts a reception in her home at Clarence House for the Poppy Factory supporters, volunteers, veterans and staff. She is pictured with former Soham soldier Wayne Harrod. Photo Ian Jones

Wayne Harrod, whose left leg was amputated below the knee after he was injured in training, gave a speech about how The Poppy Factory helped him find a new vocation as a gardener. He was was invited to a special ceremony at Clarence House hosted by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in support of a charity initiative which has seen one thousand veterans get back into work. Photo: Alex Griffiths.Wayne Harrod, whose left leg was amputated below the knee after he was injured in training, gave a speech about how The Poppy Factory helped him find a new vocation as a gardener. He was was invited to a special ceremony at Clarence House hosted by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in support of a charity initiative which has seen one thousand veterans get back into work. Photo: Alex Griffiths.

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