Mark served with the Grenadier Guards. After a serious injury and rehabilitation he became a strongman and is currently preparing to launch his own disabled strongman competition, appropriately called, ‘The Superhumans’.
Are you able to describe your injuries? I was shot on a live firing compound clearance range. The rounds to my right leg hit my femoral artery which resulted in the loss of my leg – and I’m now missing part of my shoulder. I ‘died’ in the helicopter on the way to hospital and I died again on the operating table and then, 27 operations later, I’m where I am now.
I now compete in Disabled Strongman, so we pull trucks, lift Atlas stones, logs, we deadlift cars, all that sort of stuff. I won Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man last year.
When did you become interested in the sport?
I knew quite early on, in hospital, that I wanted a physical challenge.
When I was discharged from the Forces I went into body building. It was just because I wanted to see if I could get back to some sort of condition. It’s also a big confidence boost to step on stage and to be judged and viewed as someone with the three limbs on the body that I’ve got left, rather than the one leg that I’m missing.
I suppose being from the military I’ve got a lot of pride. The wheelchair was almost like a sort of badge of defeat but I got talking to the lads and there was a similar sort of sense of humour, similar sort of camaraderie to being in the Forces, and I loved it.
I found out that the ‘Britain’s’ was only six weeks away so I didn’t think I would do well to be honest – and I went and won it! I’ve been hooked from there really.
Strongman is the ultimate sort of defiance of your amputation. It’s the one thing that everyone in that hospital, especially with how ill I looked, would never have said I would be able to do.
Tell us more about The Superhumans…
It’s about growing the awareness of our sport, letting other disabled veterans and other disabled people in general know that it exists, so that it’s another avenue for them should they wish to get into sport. It’s just about trying to inspire. I’m hoping there will be plenty of disabled children there to see us.
The strongest disabled athletes in the world will be doing battle and breaking records while lifting Atlas stones, pulling trucks and lifting the impossible in many more amazing strongman events. Taking place on Sunday 8th July 2018 at Arena MK Milton Keynes, tickets are available from £5.90.
Search ‘The Superhumans’ via: www.eventbrite.co.uk