For most people, having a leg amputated below the knee as a teenager could be a catastrophic and possibly life-limiting event. But Justin Godfrey is not like most people.
Just a few years ago, with no prior experience, Justin took on the world of triathlons and has since achieved an impressive number of top ten rankings in International and World ParaTriathlon Championships. Justin has become a member of Triathlon Australia’s High Performance Paratriathlon Squad while also working full-time as a valued member of the Coates Hire Albury branch and raising a young family.
In November last year Justin underwent major surgery to graft tissue and skin from his good leg to his stump to build it up – and then went on to win Gold in the ITU Oceania Paratriathlon Championships in Penrith just nine weeks later. This amazing performance was all despite his leg still healing and being able to use only one of the three prosthetic legs he usually uses in events.
In February 2015 he also entered the challenging new world of Cross Paratriathlons, which involve swimming, mountain bike riding and tough trail runs, coming first in his PT3 Category in his first-ever Cross Paratriathlon event.
This was then quickly followed by Gold in the PT3 Category in the ITU World Paratriathlon Championships at Twin Waters on the Gold Coast in March 2015 before Justin received Bronze in Yokohama in May.
The degree of dedication and determination is 'above and beyond' – qualities hugely admired by John Herring, Coates Hire Area Manger – North VIC, who works with Justin.
“Justin’s a very good team player, probably due to his discipline in his sport; some days he’s up at 4am to train, to be at work by 7am – that’s the commitment he has,” John Herring explained. “We’re very proud of Justin’s achievements.
“To not only have overcome losing a leg, but to have the kind of motivation to reach this peak in his sporting endeavours says so much about Justin; he inspires us all to know we can achieve anything we set our minds to.”
Despite having his hopes for participating in the 2016 Rio Paralympics dashed by changes to category entries which have left him ineligible to attend, and the medical challenges he continues to face after his November surgery, Justin remains upbeat about all future possibilities.
“With every event I’ve been improving my personal bests, so I’m pretty happy despite being disappointed about Rio,” Justin said. “Right now I’m focusing on healing and training to get for the World Championships in Chicago in September - as an amputee there’s a fine line in getting the amount of training I need riding and running, but still managing my leg so it doesn’t break down.
“It helps enormously to have the great support I’ve got, firstly from my wife and two beautiful daughters - my ‘Number One Support Crew’ – and also from Coates Hire and my work colleagues, particularly my Branch Manager Dave Simic and my fellow Sales-Coordinator Vincent Nix.
“This support network is what helps me achieve my dreams.”