A TEAM made up of injured veterans, servicemen and women is gearing up to take part in one of sport’s toughest challenges – despite their bikes being stolen just weeks before the event.

Team True Spirit, a Help for Heroes long-distance events team, will be participating in Ironman UK in Bolton on July 20.

But just weeks ago, members of the team, which consists of former soldiers fundraisers and support staff from Help for Heroes were left without their bikes after they were stolen from a campsite at Somerford Keynes the night before they were due to compete in the Cotswold 113 triathlon, which is considered to be a good training event for those taking part in the Bolton Ironman.

Mark Airey, strength and conditioning coordinator at Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick, who set up Team True Spirit to inspire members to aim for success in challenging events, said the team of 35 was now determined to focus on the challenge ahead.

“They may have stolen our bikes but they did not steal our spirit,” he said. “I think the team has got over the initial shock and disappointment and has rallied round. Everyone who had a bike stolen now has another to ride for Ironman UK.

Former soldiers from the team were given replacement bikes from Help for Heroes and members of the support staff bought themselves replacement bikes.

The 12 Team True Spirit bikes stolen from Go-by-Cycle campsite in Somerford Keynes in Gloucestershire are still missing.

The theft of the bikes, which occurred around 1am on Sunday June 15 featured on Crimewatch Roadshow last month.

Thanks to fellow campers and residents who lent three bikes to the team, which was also made up of fundraisers and H4H support staff, 32 members were still able to take part in the Cotswold 113 triathlon.

Anyone with any information can call police on 101 and quote incident number 115 of June, 15.