Meet Team PR22 ~ Stuart EdwardsPublished Saturday, 18th June 2022
Pilgrims Ride '22 ~ Meet the Team
Stuart joined the Royal Marines in 1980 aged just 16 years and 22 days. He deployed on numerous exercises both within the UK and around the world, from the cold and snowy regions of Norway, the humid jungles of Belize, to the blistering heat of the desert of Oman. He has seen active service in Northern Ireland Op Banner, Falklands Campaign: Op Corporate, Iraq: Op Telic 2 and two Tours of Afghanistan: Op Jacana and Op Herrick.
In 2000 Stuart took up middle and long-distance triathlons and somehow managed to find time to train and compete during a very busy Unit Operational Deployment.
In 2011 whilst out training on his bike he was involved in a road traffic accident which resulted in a broken femur, broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Open surgery to pin his femur together with a dynamic hip screw left Stuart unable to weight-bear for several months. He started rehabilitation under the direction of the unit’s military physiotherapist and for the next twelve months underwent a structured rehabilitation programme. Struggling to walk or perform high impact exercises due to the constant pain in his hip, Stuart was unable to conduct his annual physical test and subsequently placed on a military medical board for discharge. The outcome of the medical board was to retain him within the Royal Marines but placed in a permanently downgraded medical category with limited deployability and non-operational environments.
Knowing that he would never be able to conduct the many physical challenges that he had been achieving to a high standard since first joining the Royal Marines left Stuart feeling disheartened, frustrated, and angry.
Despite the constant pain, Stuart found cycling helped channel his frustration, impacting positively on his mental health, and enabled him to continue to challenge himself both mentally and physically.
Having served a total of 41 years and 6 months, Stuart retired from the Royal Marines as a Colour Sergeant on the 25 February 2022. He continues to have problems with his hip and eventually may require a hip replacement in the future.
Stuart is looking forward to pushing himself in the world of endurance cycling and wants to encourage others struggling with their injuries to get involved with an endeavour like the Pilgrims Ride:
"having something to work towards, and a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and what your end goal is, helped to clear my mind of the anger and frustration that I was experiencing. Events such as these could take you away from the tedious daily military routines that you experience under rehab and introduce you to a whole new world of people and a sport that you realise you enjoy and may continue to carry on with after your rehab has finished.."