Ben Wagon from Southampton is running the London Marathon just three years after he almost died in an horrific car crash

Ben training for the London Marathon

Ben training for the London Marathon

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

HIS injuries were so severe they feared he would never walk again.

Ben Wagon was left fighting for life after a horrific car crash which killed his girlfriend Justine Emblin-Butler.

Doctors feared the Royal Navy aviation engineer from Southampton would never wake from his coma – let alone overcome serious head injuries sustained in the collision.

But Ben had other ideas.

Now, just three years on, the 25-year-old will take the next giant step on his road to recovery when, amazingly, he competes in the London Marathon.

For Ben it will be his way of saying thank you to the extensive team who have helped nursed him back to health – running to raise funds for Help for Heroes which supports military rehabilitation centres.

Ben said the gravity of this mammoth mission will only sink in as he steps up to the starting line on April 13.

“I am very lucky to do this”, he told the Daily Echo.

“Before the accident I had a vision of where I wanted to go with my life and that has been thrown out of the window.

“Often it’s very difficult to come to terms with it, but now I have a new vision.

“I am trying to be the best that I can be and this is the next step in my recovery.”

Although Ben’s determination has seen him defy the odds, he knows he couldn’t have got where he is today without the help of staff at the Help for Heroes Plymouth Naval Services Rehabilitation Centre, led by Hasler Company and those at Headley Court Military Hospital.

He added: “It shows that anything is possible and how well I’ve been cared for. They’ve supported me a lot during my recovery and it’s time for me to pay them back.”

His inspiration to take on the marathon stemmed from competing in the Warrior Games last year.

He won a bronze medal in the seated volleyball but doctors deemed him not quite ready to run the 1,500metres.

Ben now aims to complete the 26-mile course in 3hrs 30mins – a time most seasoned runners would be proud of.

Proud Mum Tracey said: “We would never have thought in a million years he would be able to do this.

“He’s had amazing support and without them he wouldn’t be at this point. They didn’t think he would walk at one point.

“But it just goes to show that he puts his heart and soul into everything he does. It’s going to be very emotional and we will be very proud of him whatever happens.”

Daily Echo:

As previously reported Ben was left in a coma after the crash which happened as he and his girlfriend Justine, 21 (above), were heading back to their home in Yeovil, after a weekend visiting family in Southampton, in October 2011.

Their Audi A3 overturned on the A36 as Justine swerved to avoid a badger.

Paramedics and doctors flown in from the Isle of Wight Air Ambulance battled to save her but she died in Southampton General Hospital.

Ben was taken to the Wessex Neurological Intensive Care Unit where he gradually woke up from his coma before heading to Headley Court Military Hospital.

Members from Help for Heroes will be supporting him on the route, while his mum and sister Charlotte, 24, will be waiting for him at the finish line.

Comments (3)

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8:23am Mon 7 Apr 14

DCS123 says...

Good luck Ben! You are a winner already. And what a lovely family you have. We will be cheering you on!
All best wishes
Donna and David
Good luck Ben! You are a winner already. And what a lovely family you have. We will be cheering you on! All best wishes Donna and David DCS123
  • Score: 10

8:59am Mon 7 Apr 14

St.Winch70 says...

Well done Ben. The way that you've obviously come back after your physical injuries is truly inspiring. The fact that you managed his also when you've experienced terrible loss underlines your amazing achievements.
Well done Ben. The way that you've obviously come back after your physical injuries is truly inspiring. The fact that you managed his also when you've experienced terrible loss underlines your amazing achievements. St.Winch70
  • Score: 9

5:10am Tue 8 Apr 14

saintinpattaya says...

Fantastic story. Well done Ben.
Fantastic story. Well done Ben. saintinpattaya
  • Score: 1

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