Former Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008. He got into triathlon when he completed the Ironman UK triathlon in Bolton in July 2011. He has since completed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where he finished second in the disability category in a time of 11:35:52 (2012) and has established himself as one of the best PTWC paratriatheltes in the world. He competed for ParalympicsGB in Rio in September 2016 and is the reigning Commonwealth Champion.
Joe carried the Paralympic Flame into the London 2012 stadium as part of the opening ceremony. He was suspended by wires and made a dramatic overhead entrance to the arena, even though he is actually scared of heights.
Joe was based at the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre, but has more recently based himself from home, where he has a wife and baby. He has future aspirations to work in elite sport as a Strength and Conditioning coach having become the first UKSCA accredited strength and conditioning coach in a wheel chair.
At the Invictus Games in 2014 he won four gold medals on the athletics track. He also took part in the cycling and power lifting events.
Joe achived his first global medal with bronze at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Rotterdam in 2017. He achieved a stunning gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, where Paratriathlon featured in the Games for the first time ever.