Blindness and paralysis haven’t stopped Mark Pollock from tackling six marathons in seven days across the Gobi Desert, or winning two medals at the Commonwealth Games.
And just like he stretched his own limits to become the first ever blind man to reach the South Pole, people are being encouraged to push their own in the “Run in the Dark Manchester” marathon this November.
The event is one of 50 races being held across the globe to raise funds for the Mark Pollock Trust, supporting its research into a cure for paralysis.
Born partially sighted, Mark turned completely blind at age 22. And then, in July 2010, the athlete fell from a second story window, leaving him paralysed.
Spinal cord injury not only severely limits movement but also interferes with the body’s internal systems, faculties designed to keep us alive: pain, infections and uncontrollable spasms are common.
Every year, more and more join Mark in the campaign: last year the Manchester race had 1000 participants.
And there’s always a channelling of his adventurous spirit in small, quirky ways: runners in the past have donned Minions and Pirates of the Caribbean costumes.
“The Run in the Dark” team said: “There is a great deal of camaraderie at this event and we always see people cheering each other on and enjoying the run.
“A flat and fast route gives runners the chance to get a PB time [personal best] on their run, or make the challenge of running in fancy dress that bit less scary.
“Runners get to see a beautiful area of the city in a different way to usual and see the bridges and buildings lit up in all their glory. Particularly for those who have seen the development in the area in the past few years it’s a great chance for them to enjoy the new development.”
Participants can take on either a five or 10k challenge set in two laps. The event will take place on Wednesday, November 16th around Salford Quays and Trafford Wharf, starting at 8pm. The route is based in MediaCityUK.
To sign up, please visit www.runinthedark.org