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Alton Towers casualty Joe Pugh in training

Many will remember the horrific incident of 2015, which saw Joe Pugh, his girlfriend Leah Washington, Vicky Balch and Daniel Thorpe suffer serious and life changing injuries in The Smiler crash at Alton Towers.

Joe shattered both of his kneecaps, and has been working with PTs and physiotherapists to regain and maintain strength in his legs. It is through these sessions that he has discovered Xrunner, and he’s now made it his mission to complete the upcoming Wild Warrior event to raise money for a cause now very close to his heart.

In his own words, Joe describes how OCR has become part of his rehab plan, and for a brilliant cause too.

Alton Towers accident casualty Joe Pugh in training for Xrunner’s Wild Warrior event – the ultimate rehabilitation target! Joe is raising money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

For most of us, training for one of the UK’s toughest obstacle races is enough of a challenge, but when you’ve recently escaped with your life from one of the most notorious theme park accidents ever, sustaining horrific injuries, well that just makes Joe Pugh a bit of a hero in our eyes! We had about a hundred questions for Joe, but he’s been through enough of an ordeal already, we gave him a break and just asked a few, read his interview here:

Full Name: Joe Pugh

Age: 20, will be 21 when participating in the event.

Date of accident at Alton Towers: June 2nd 2015

Age at time of accident: 18

City where you live: Barnsley SouthYorkshire

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Alton Towers Accident

Q;- Before the accident, can you tell me about your life? (such as studying at college, uni etc..?)

A;- I had just finished my 1st year at uni studying textile practice BA Hons at Huddersfield, the accident happened at the beginning of the summer holidays which wiped out the whole of my summer up to returning to uni in September, where I returned on two crutches as I was determined not to let anything get in the way of my degree which was hard but I had a lot of help and support from the uni (Huddersfield), I was a typical 18 year old who enjoyed socialising with friends regularly, I also had a part time job as bar staff at Ardsley Oaks WMC where I would work most weekends.

Q;- Have you always been a sporty person or has the accident turned that around and inspired you to get more active? I wasn’t into sports at all!

A;- The accident has encouraged me to become more sporty as I understand I have to attend physio and PT sessions regularly to build muscle and strength around my knees to prolong the life of them before needing replacements in the future, I really enjoy it and setting physical & personal goals for myself helps me to achieve what I want!


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Why X-Runner

Q ;- Have you ever completed an extreme obstacle event before?

A;- I have never taken part in a obstacle course before, myself, leah and our mums & nana’s took part in a paint walk last summer (June 2016) where paint was thrown at you as you walked the course to raise money for Barnsley hospice.

Q;- Why did you choose Xrunner?

A;- I have been looking into obstacle courses and mud runs for a while and my personal trainer found xRunner and the title of ‘more obstacles less running’ appealed to me, the running causes me some discomfort which isn’t ideal but I’m determined to attempt to run some of the course and attempt some of the obstacles, I have already been made aware that some obstacles may be tricky especially the ones that include crawling and a large range of bend in the knees.

Q;- What is your memory of the time of the accident?

A;- I remember most if not all of the accident, I had no pain relief as I was scared of needles so I refused the medication so I remember seeing everything that happened and I guess thats a memory that will stick in my mind forever.

Q;- How’s you girlfriend as she sustained horrific injures too?

A;- She’s doing great! She surprises me all the time with the things she achieves day to day and in her PT sessions, she encourages me and I encourage her we understand each other as we’ve been through the same thing.





Q;- What injuries did you sustain from the accident?

A;- I suffered two shattered knee caps which were put back together like jigsaws with wires etc leaving me with half a knee cap in my right knee and just over half in my left, I also suffered a compound fracture to my right middle finger (the finger broke and then a large cut down the middle through the break) and then my little finger of my left hand was snapped off during the accident and hung on with skin and a tendon and then I had to have part of my finger cut and the surgeons basically re-attached my finger together and fused it into a cosmetically pleasing position, the finger doesn’t work functionally only moves up and down but nothing else.

Q;- What’s your rehabilitation and recovery process been like since the accident? Any operations? Any physio? Future rehab plans?

A;- Hard! I have physio and/or PT sessions once a week now, the sessions will potentially be being increased soon due to training for the event and I also spend time in the gym from time to time in-between sessions, (operations listed above) the physio’s and rehab team I have had have been great and everything has been put into place to suit my lifestyle and needs, I still get pain but Ive learnt how to deal with it and manage it especially after PT or physio sessions.

Q;- What’s your main goal and how is entering Xrunner contributing to this?

A;- I don’t think I have a ‘main goal’ I prefer to just set myself many goals throughout time if that makes sense, achieving several things that make up to a lot of things means more to me than achieving one big goal, it just feels more rewarding being able to say how many things I’ve achieved over time and especially when I look back and see how much we (me and leah) have both achieved since the accident!

Q;- Will your girlfriend be taking part or supporting you on event day?

A;- She won’t be taking part but yes she will be supporting.


Just Giving

Q;- Tell me about the charity you are fund raising for and why?

A;- I chose this charity as the air ambulance is very close to us, the paramedics from the Midlands Air Ambulance saved our lives along with the fire crew on the 2nd of June, we held a charity night in November 2015 and raised almost £30,000 for the mids air ambulance, fire crew and stoke hospital which is where we were treat, I wanted to give a little back to Yorkshire and raise money for the Yorks Air Ambulance as they also do a amazing job and the charity relies on donations and charitable funds as it isn’t a government run charity!

Q;- How do you both feel about the accident after almost a year and half on?

A;- We both feel good about ourselves at the moment, we both look back at what we’ve done and achieved since the accident and some of those things if not all we would have never done if it hadn’t have been for the accident (TV appearances, press, charity etc)

If you want to support Joe and help him reach his fundraising targets, visit his justgiving page here to donate:

Here more from Joe at his twitter handle: @joepugh_

To view the Xrunner Wild Warrior event: click here

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