Double amputee James Simpson completes 'tough' Spartan Race

James Simpson diving over burning logs
Image caption Obstacles included diving over flaming logs and crawling through mud under barbed wire
James Simpson taking part in the Spartan Race
Image caption James Simpson was among 3,000 people taking part in the race
James Simpson taking part in the Spartan Race
Image caption The soldier said he was so focussed on the event that he did not noticed a standing ovation given to him at the finish line
L/Bdr Simpson celebrates with friends after finishing the Spartan Race
Image caption L/Bdr Simpson said he was "exhausted" and planning to celebrate his achievement with a barbecue

A soldier who lost both legs in an explosion has become the first British double amputee to complete a gruelling obstacle course.

Lance Bombardier James Simpson lost his limbs after he stepped on an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2009.

The 27-year-old, from Rawdon in Leeds, spent months training for the Spartan Race, which took place in Ripon.

The event is a four mile (7km) open country run with 25 surprise obstacles including leaping over flaming logs.

He also had to scale 30ft (9m) high cargo nets, crawl under barbed wire and wade through muddy ditches.

'An inspiration'

L/Bdr Simpson has been described as an inspiration by the organisers of the event, which is a shorter version of the Spartan Beast, a 12 mile-long course dubbed the "obstacle race from hell".

He completed the course in just over four hours, wearing what he calls "stubbies" - small pads that fit to the bottom of his thighs.

Image caption L/Bdr James Simpson lost both his legs and damaged both his arms in a blast in Afghanistan

He was given a standing ovation from fellow racers and spectators as he crossed the finishing line.

L/Bdr Simpson said afterwards: "It's been brilliant. I knew it was going to be really tough, I was under no illusions. I had to dig, I really did.

"I'm really happy."

L/Bdr Simpson, who is leaving the Army to become a student, has so far raised more than £2,500 for the SSAFA military charity through donations made on his Just Giving web page.

Race director Richard Lee said: "James is an inspiration to everybody.

"One of our core values is overcoming adversity and accepting challenges.

"What James has achieved today represents everything we believe in. We are proud of him."

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