Despite having only one leg – and one foot! – former Royal Marine Lee Spencer BEM will attempt to swim the English Channel, to cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats (1,036 miles) and to climb the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales – all inside a 14 day period. Sponsored by global investment manager Schroders, Lee will combine these classic challenges into one big challenge, the Triathlon of Great Britain, something no one, able-bodied or disabled, has ever attempted before. With little recovery time between events, he will attempt all three challenges starting in the month of July 2022.
He isn’t doing all this just to raise money for charity: his main aim is to prove that no one should be ‘defined by disability!’ His mission is to redefine perceptions, challenge stigma, drive change and ensure everyone has an opportunity to lead a life with dignity.
This is not his first endurance challenge. In 2015 Lee was part of the World’s first physically disabled of crew of 4 to row an ocean. In 2019, Lee became the world’s first physically disabled person to row from mainland Europe to mainland South America solo and unsupported. By doing so, he broke the able-bodied record by an astonishing 36 days and also broke the record for the longest solo and unsupported ocean row by a physically disabled person, a total of four Guinness World records.
Lee, who lives in Devon, was a serving Royal Marine for 24 years. After coming unscathed through three operational tours of Afghanistan, he then lost his right leg when he was hit by debris as he was helping a motorist who had crashed into the central reservation on the M3 in Surrey. Although his right leg was severed in the impact, his military training kicked in and he was able to save his life by explaining to bystanders how they should tie a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
Since he was discharged from the Royal Marines, Lee has developed a second career as a motivational speaker whose clients include the England Football team, Government Ministries, major multi-national companies, and many educational establishments.
Lee said: ‘‘I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations, especially anyone with a disability. I feel passionately about challenging this stigma and proving no one should be defined by disability.”