Hometown: Tredegar, South Wales
Current residence: Manchester
Club: Para-T Cycling Team
Disability: Broken back at T12 vertebrae/lower leg paralysis
Disciplines: Time Trial, Road Race, 3km Pursuit, 1km TT
Career highlight(s): Gold in the 3km Pursuit and Silver in the 1km Time Trial at the 2012 Para-Cycling Track World Championships, and Debut Silver in the Time Trial at the 2011 Para-Cycling Road World Championships.
Mark has always been a keen and determined sportsman and even from a very young age has enjoyed the sporting challenge of almost any kind. After graduating from school he represented Wales in volleyball and competed in three British Championships in the 1990’s, also enjoying the adrenaline rush of rock climbing, paragliding and the grit and determination of racing triathlon.
Unfortunately in May 2009, Mark had to do an emergency landing in the Gower Peninsula, Swansea when his paragliding wing collapsed and folded in front of him. The fall to the ground from around 40ft left Mark with not only a broken back but also serious lower leg paralysis, due to severe nerve damage in his spine. He then went through 5 months of intense physiotherapy in order to learn to walk again with walking aids.
With his natural passion for sport, Mark continued training and competed in the Welsh indoor adaptive rowing Championships, while still working part time as a consultant in sales and management. He was also given the chance to try to cycle again through the Cardiff based organisation Disability Sport Wales, who luckily noticed that even though he could not walk properly unaided, he was actually quite talented in riding a bike. In September 2009, Mark set himself the target of competing in his first Para-Cycling event and went on to win two Gold medals at the Wales GB in Newport, where he was spotted by the GB coaches.
In June 2011 and only 2 years after his accident, Mark had completed thousands of hours of training on his bike and was now fast enough in the C1 category to be selected by the Great Britain Para-Cycling team to join the squad. After winning 5 medals for the team in 5 Road and Time Trial races over the summer of 2011, he was selected to race in the 2011 Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Denmark. There, he proudly won the Silver medal in the C1 Time Trial discipline and a 4th place in the Road Race.
After his success on the road, Mark also started to explore the track at the end of 2011, where his determination and quick progression lead to his selection for the 2012 Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles. Being a complete novice on the track, Mark managed to surprise everyone to win an incredible Gold medal in the 3km Individual Pursuit and a Silver in the 1km Time Trial.
In his spare time Mark likes to socialise with his friends and family, along with continuing his voluntary work for Cycle Challenge Wales. His sporting hero is seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. Mark describes himself as calm, determined and hard working. His training tips are: work hard, always rest and be patient and the gains will come. His sporting ambition is to win Gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.