Mark's Story

Mark’s Story

Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Mark Pollock went on to compete in ultra endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps including being the first blind person to race to the South Pole. He also won silver and bronze medals for rowing at the Commonwealth Games and set up a motivational speaking business.

In 2010 Mark was left paralysed after falling from a second story window. He is now exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide and catalysing collaborations that have never been done before. Through the Mark Pollock Trust he is unlocking $ 1 billion to cure paralysis in our lifetime.

Selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and appointed to the Global Futures Council on Human Enhancement, Mark is a UBS Global Visionary, is on the Board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (USA) and is a Wings for Life Ambassador (Europe). He is the subject of the acclaimed documentary called Unbreakable, is a TEDDavos, Wired and EG speaker and is co-founder of the global running series called Run in the Dark

He has been awarded honorary doctorates by The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and also from Queens University Belfast. And, he holds a diploma in Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century from Harvard University, degrees from Trinity College Dublin and The Smurfit Business School.

Mark’s Story: Highlights

The following section is a timeline illustrating highlights of Mark’s story in images and videos.


Collaborating With Ekso Bionics

A picture of Mark walking in Ekso Bionics robotic legs in Trinity College Dublin

Mark and his team are working in partnership with Ekso Bionics to raise awareness of how exoskeletons, like the EksoGT™, and other advanced technologies, impact people’s lives with the aim of evolving the field of rehabilitation to accelerate the cure for paralysis.


Courage In Sports On CBS Television

Mark returned to endurance sports aboard a custom-built tandem bike with his former South Pole teammate, Simon O’Donnell, to complete The Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive. The race was captured on CBS television in the US as part of their highly rated Courage in Sports documentary series.

Behind the Scenes – Mark Pollock and the Smart Bike



Mark’s Story Captured in Award Winning Documentary Feature Film

Mark’s rollercoaster story of blindness, spinal cord injury and work to cure paralysis with his fiancee, Simone George, is chronicled over the course of six years in Unbreakable – The Mark Pollock Story. Director, Ross Whitaker, said: “The film is really a testament to the power of human relationships and the human spirit to challenge seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.”


Recipient Of People Of The Year Award

At one of the highlights in the social calendar in 2012, a host of stars and well-known faces stepped out on the red carpet to applaud the People of the Year winners. Alongside, the Olympic gold medalist and World Champion boxer Katie Taylor, Mark was honoured with a People of the Year Award for his determination and constantly pushing new boundaries as an explorer and adventure racer.


The Impact Of Mark’s Catastrophic Accident

Mark fell from a second story window in the summer of 2010. During 16 months in hospital, he and his family try to make sense of what has happened in this extract from the award-winning documentary, Unbreakable – The Mark Pollock Story.


The first blind person in the world to race to The South Pole

A picture of Mark planting his flag of faces at the South Pole, with other national flags in the background framed by the snow

Mark follows in the footsteps of Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen during a 43 day expedition race with temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees. After man hauling sledges over 1,000 kilometres with his teammates, Simon O’Donnell and Inge Solheim, Mark became the first blind man to race to the South Pole.

South Pole

Mark and his teammates training for the South Pole race.


Mark runs 6 marathons in 7 days in the Gobi Desert

A picture of Mark and his running partner Nick Wolf at the Gobi Desert March, The Race of No Return, 2003. They are in the desert wearing backpacks and gators and peaked caps and are carrying trekking poles

After losing his sight in 1998, Mark competed in the inaugural Gobi March – The Race Of No Return – with his teammate Nick Wolfe. One year after winning silver and bronze medals at the Commonwealth Rowing Championships, Mark swapped the rivers and lakes for the desert to run 6 marathons in 7 days.

Mark’s talk still resonates with our European Sales Team. He started a conversation about challenging conventional wisdom that is ongoing at Google. And with over 20 nationalities in the room he reached them all.

Head of SMB Sales


I was honored to meet with Mark Pollock in Ireland this year, where we engaged with teachers and students at St. Patrick’s College to discuss the ways technology is changing how students learn. Mark is an extreme adventurer and athlete who has raced to the South Pole — and even more incredibly, he was the first blind man to ever do so.
Mark is a brilliant example of the fact that we can always achieve more than what we think is possible.

Satya Nadella, CEO


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