THERE'S no stopping IRONMAN Ben who defies serious injuries to set new goals. 

International sportsman Ben Llewellyn has returned to the sports he loves with support from a personal trainer and physiotherapist at a Shrewsbury fitness and wellness centre after breaking his back in a potentially life-changing accident in 2017.

He suffered serious injuries when he crashed on the hillside near his home at White Grit, near Bishops Castle when out fine tuning his mountain bike for the fifth round of the Enduro World Series in France.

During his final practise run at 9.30pm, he made a mistake on a jump which

blew out the bike’s rear tyre and he flew over the handlebar. “Instantly I knew there was something wrong as I couldn’t breathe, I had a lack of sensation in my left leg and spasms in my right,” recalls Ben.

He had fractured four vertebrae in his spine, broken most of his ribs and had a collapsed right lung. The rescue operation took more than eight hours, as Brecon Mountain Rescue Team carefully carried him down the hillside to a waiting

Maritime and Coastguard Agency helicopter which flew him to the major trauma unit at Salford Royal Hospital.

Doctors discussed inserting a metal rod to stabilise his spine and fusing the broken vertebrae, but Ben opted to be put in a body brace instead.

Amazingly, he was discharged from hospital after just eight days and was released from the body brace after three months, when initially he was told it could take up to a year. Following treatment at Salford, he was transferred to the famous Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Gobowen.

He was back on his mountain bike by the end of 2017 and competing again last year, but found that, psychologically since the accident, he had lost his competitive edge. That’s where personal trainer Jamie Lambie and physiotherapist Aaron Lambley at Love2Live at Salop Leisure in Shrewsbury have helped.

Following a 11-month fitness regime, Ben decided to take on the IRONMAN Wales triathlon in Tenby, comprising a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle ride and a 26.22-mile run.

Some of his best friends doubted he could complete this gruelling event, rated as one of the world’s toughest triathlons, yet he finished in 346th place out of 2,400 triathletes, in 12 hours five minutes and 39 seconds. 

He was 56th in the men’s 30-34 years age group and raised £2,550 for Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation in the process. Anyone wishing to support the fundraising campaign can do so online at

 “I want to raise money for other people with spinal injuries and to show that it’s possible to get back to fitness if you really apply yourself,” said Ben, a mechanic at Will Llewellyn Motors, Hope Valley.

Bitten by the triathlon bug, he’s eager for more and plans to improve his time next year with the ultimate aim of qualifying for the World IRONMAN Championship. He also plans to return to national enduro and some select downhill races in 2020.

“If I were a cat, I would probably have used up a good few of my lives, as I’ve broken most of the major bones in my body, apart from my neck and femurs,” confessed 34-year-old Ben. “I have to keep going otherwise the pain from my back injury gets too bad.

“Training with Jamie and having physio with Aaron at Love2Live have made a massive difference, both mentally and physically, to me. Jamie had to get me back to basic fitness before I could get down to my targets.

“Love2Live has provided me with an amazing facility to train where I am able to draw on the expertise of the qualified trainers whom I really believe in. We set goals and we achieve them. If we don’t, we analyse the data and go again. Win or learn.

“I am not scared of hard work as I have always had to train for my racing, whether it was motocross or mountain bikes.”

Despite serious injuries, he has competed at the highest level in Britain at motocross and at world level in mountain biking. Whether surprising doctors with his recovery from injury or completing his first IRONMAN triathlon, it’s obvious that Ben relishes a challenge.

He thanked all the medical staff, everyone involved in his rescue off the hillside in 2017, Jamie and Aaron and his family for their support, which has enabled him to return to the sports he loves.

Jamie Lambie said: “I am unbelievably proud of Ben for his amazing achievement of completing IRONMAN Wales. His commitment levels are second to none.

“We worked every week for 18 months on his strength to prepare him for the triathlon and I would like to thank Ben for giving me the opportunity to work with someone who is so driven. We share the same hunger for winning and the same mentality to push ourselves to the limit.”

Pictures: Ben Llewelyn (right) with his personal trainer Jamie Lambie at Love2Live.


Ben in mountain bike racing action.