Adventure Athlete

Latest Challenges

Blind, now paralysed and fighting back, Mark Pollock continues to take on endurance challenges around the world.

A pioneer exploring the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery, Mark uses an aggressive physical therapy programme and robotic technology. He trains daily on his legs to challenge conventional wisdom that says his central nervous system cannot recover.

Challenges Met

Biting cold, searing heat, exhaustion and injury have pushed Mark and his teams to the brink of failure. Like most people he has experienced doubts and fears, but he understands how to combat their limiting consequences.

Mark was a world class rower when he lost his sight. Getting back to competitive sport was an essential part of rebuilding his identity after it took the blow of blindness. Shortly after getting back in a boat with his sighted crew mate, Brendan Smyth, he took home silver and bronze medals rowing in the Commonwealth Games.

Since losing his sight Mark went on to compete in ultra endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps. These challenges include a race to the South Pole, 6 marathons in 7 days in the Gobi Desert; and the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon.

Mark uses these races to further develop his understanding of human performance. He uses this hard-earned expertise to help people in business achieve more than they thought possible.

Race Chronology

2010 June: Round Ireland Yacht Race. Part of a two-man team competing aboard the Team Daft.com yacht during the 1,400-mile ocean race

2010 Feb: Snowboarding Switzerland
Learning to trust guides in a whole new way

2010 Jan: Land Sailing, Argentina
High speed, close-to-the-ground yachting

2009 Oct: Dublin Marathon
26.2 tough miles on familiar territory

2008 Dec - 2009 Feb: South Pole Race
Mark became the first blind man to race to the South Pole

2007 April: Dead Sea Ultra (lowest marathon in world)

2007 May: Everest Marathon (highest in world)
Two extreme running events in extreme situations

2006: Irish Sea Kayak Challenge
From Ireland to Wales in a two-man kayak

2006 July: Ironman Switzerland, Zurich
The ultimate one-day endurance race, the great triathlon

2005 & 2006 February: Coast to Coast Race, New Zealand
Both attempts at this race ended in failure for Mark, a major hurdle

2004 September: Liffey Descent
Back in Dublin for a coldwater classic

2004 April: North Pole Marathon
Mark’s first encounter with icy adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes

2003 September: Gobi March, The Race of No Return
Six marathons in seven days across China’s Gobi desert

2002 Aug: Commonwealth Games Rowing
Mark won two medals, bronze and silver, at the Commonwealth Games

 

I first met Mark while competing against him in the North Pole Marathon and was struck by his incredible spirit. To take on endurance challenges in places like The Poles, Himalaya and Gobi Desert requires great courage and mental strength. The fact that Mark completes these adventures after losing the use of his eyes and now his legs makes him truly remarkable.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Explorer

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