Covered in mud, five hours after starting, triple amputee Corporal Todd Love charges to the finish line after competing over ten miles of rugged terrain across 75 obstacles in an event called The Beast.
Having lost both his legs and an arm in Afghanistan in 2010, this weekend Love took to Leesburg, Virginia, in an extreme endurance test called The Spartan Race with his eight-man other comrades of Team X.T.R.E.M.E.
Made up of wounded servicemen and women, the team helped Love scale eight-foot high walls, speed along high-wires, crawl through mud and bound across the ground as they honoured their ongoing mission to raise awareness of the nation’s wounded heroes.
‘Our challenges in the mask last for hours, our Wounded Warriors endure their challenges for a lifetime.’
The picture of Love drenched and bravely struggling to the finish has been seen by millions on the Internet and has become an inspiration to the able bodied as well as those who have been injured serving their country.
‘I am pretty surprised with how much attention I’ve got in the last 24 hours,’ said 22-year-old Love.
‘I have been trying to keep up with it and I just want to thank everyone that has been with me since the beginning.
‘I will try to keep up the adventures (safely) and inspiration.
‘I will promise I will never let what I can’t do interfere with what I can do.’
Leesburg is usually reserved for horse-racing, but on the wet and muddy course Team X-T.R.E.M.E. mostly carried Love around, but the former serviceman did conquer obstacles himself – including one heroic solo hill climb at the halfway point.
One of the mantra’s of the team is to never leave anyone behind and throughout The Beast, each event had to be completed by all eight members before they moved on.
The race is designed to push all the participants to their limit, mentally and physically and the fact that a man with no legs and only one arm managed to complete all 10.5 miles and 75 obstacles has inspired millions.
Marine Cpl. Todd Simpson of Acworth, Georgia is a third generation marine.
On his return home five months after his accident, the triple amputee was treated like a hero by his family and hundreds of well-wishers.
He said ‘I don’t know what to say right now.Thank you so much. It’s nice to be home. I love y’all.’
At Dallas Park, Love even joked about his injury. He said: ‘I was up front with the minesweepers searching for explosives and I found them. I guess that’s the easiest way to put it.
‘I’m still the same man.I was a boy when I left, but now I’m man. I haven’t lost anything in my eyes.’
Since the incident, Love has been recovering at the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He’s been in outpatient rehabilitation and helped by his brother Brandon.
An extreme sports enthusiast, Love has gone skiing in Pennsylvania and Colorado three times since losing his legs, using adapted skis.
He has refused to let his injuries prevent him from living his life to the fullest of his abilities.
In addition to the skiing, Love has participated in skydiving and surfing in Hawaii and even wrestled a 400-pound alligator in Florida.
Touchingly, the injured veteran has also learned to play piano, displaying his skills at performing Bach on a YouTube video.