Soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan to run Dublin half marathon: 'I wasn’t about to give up'
Published 31/07/2015 | 10:53
A bilateral amputee will join thousands of runners at the starting line of this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Dublin this weekend.
American Steve Martin (45) will travel to Ireland this weekend to run his 32nd half marathon alongside his 68-year-old father as part of a European challenge the pair are trying to complete.
“We chose Dublin because we have never been there before and always wanted to go until what happened to me. So, we not only get to run another Rock ‘n’ Roll race, but see a new place for the first time,” said Steve.
Steve’s life was altered forever in 2008, when he lost both legs as a result of injuries sustained in an explosion while he was serving in Afghanistan. The soldier came into contact with an Improvised Explosive Device, which left him with a fractured elbow, fractured hips, broken ribs and his feet were severely injured.
A year later in 2009, a decision was made to amputate Steve’s legs mid-shin after 14 surgeries which attempted to save his limbs.
“It was scary but it was necessary. It was about taking a chance on getting my life back,” he said.
Following the surgery, Steve’s mother moved from Arizona to Phoenix to help her son, who admitted he could do little for himself. Steve also revealed that although his mother’s meals were a great comfort, his waistline soon expanded and he feared he would be a burden to his family.
“She took care of me like I was a kid again,” says Martin.
“Being treated like a kid when battling a 24-hour flu is one thing. Being treated like a child for nearly two years is something else.”
“I struggled [thinking], ‘Am I going to be a burden on my family? ’Can I take care of myself? Am I ever going to walk again?’”
“I’m fortunate. I have an amazing family and lots of good friends. I just thought, my family wasn’t going to let me down, so I wasn’t going to give up.”
Steve was determined to live a long and healthy life, and set himself a goal of completing a 5k with his prosthetics. The now seasoned runner has completed three marathons and 31 half-marathons since losing his legs. He has also climbed Mt Kilimanjaro.
The inspirational runner is now 20 half-marathons into a challenge he is completing with his dad Marty (68). The pair is determined to complete 30 Rock ’n’ Roll half marathons around the world.
“They make it fun,” Martin says of the Rock ‘n’ Roll events.
“The bands. You get people who walk the entire race and they’re not frowned upon. They’re out there doing it. "I’ve been one of those people. You talk to people along the route. Being a double-amputee, it starts a lot of conversations.”
Marty, Steve’s dad, revealed that after his accident, his son was always determined to live a happy and fulfilling life as he felt he had been given a second chance.
Marty said: “After hugging him and telling him I loved him, I asked ‘What the hell were you doing?’” As in, “Son, why were you risking your life?”
“To which Steve replied, ‘Dad, I was just doing my job’.”
“There’s a reason I’m still alive. There’s a reason our team’s still alive. And I’m going to find that reason and fulfill it.”