Double amputee challenges Maghaberry prisoners to support those in need

Date published: 31 January 2018

Prisoners at Maghaberry Prison have put themselves to the test, embarking upon a grueling physical challenge alongside double amputee war veteran, Duncan Slater.

Duncan Slater visits Maghaberry

The first double amputee to complete the grueling 156-mile Marathon Des Sables across the Sahara, Duncan Slater visited Maghaberry Prison last June to speak to prisoners about overcoming challenge and adversity.

It was during this visit that he was invited to return to the prison to take part in a Duathlon alongside both prisoners and prison officers.

Duncan said: “Being in Maghaberry and meeting the men here, it changed my opinion of a lot of things. Something positive can come out of something negative and I’m a result of that.

“It was negative the day I got blown up and lost both my legs, but I’ve been lucky enough to make a life and do other things; so why should other people not get an opportunity to do that as well? The men here today have raised money for two charities and that’s going to help to change people’s lives, and that’s fantastic.”

The Maghaberry Prison Duathlon took place in the prison’s gym and lasted five hours. Six prisoners and six prison officers took part in the challenge which included a 13 mile row followed immediately by a 13 mile run.

All who took part were sponsored to do so, raising funds for both the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice and the Walking with the Wounded charity.

One prisoner who took part in the Duathlon alongside Duncan said: “I feel brilliant, ecstatic, relieved it’s over, it was hard but we got there. It goes to show that nothing is unachievable, even though we’re in here you can achieve anything with a positive mind, if you put your mind to it you’ll do it.”

Andy Tosh, Head of the Prisoner Development Unit at Maghaberry, who took part in the challenge said: “Duncan has a very powerful story to tell and is a living, breathing example of how people can change their lives if they are determined to do so.

“He is a huge inspiration and we are delighted to have him here again today to support prisoners and staff to complete their own duathlon challenge. Those taking part have worked long and hard to build the right level of fitness and, with the clear link between exercise and well-being, we see this as an important initiative. Ultimately it is our role to support people to change; today is a good step towards that.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. For footage of Duncan Slater’s duathlon at Maghaberry go to:
  2. Duncan Slater also paid a visit to Hydebank Wood College during his stay. There he spoke to both male and female prisoners about his experiences of challenge and adversity.
  3. Ex-RAF platoon sergeant, Duncan Slater, lost both legs in a roadside bomb which blew up his vehicle while he was serving in Afghanistan in 2009. However, he has since trekked to the South Pole and completed the world’s most grueling marathon in aid of the charity, Walking with the Wounded which supports servicemen and women with life-changing injuries.
  4. For all media enquiries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623974383 and your call will be returned.

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