Manage episode 317183554 series 3302145
Martin Parnell is a father, husband, grandfather, son, and brother.
In 2001, Martin lost his wife Wendy to cancer. Almost a year later, his brothers challenged him to run a marathon. As a highly competitive trio they decided to take it on. He strapped on his running shoes and quickly discovered how hard a challenge like this might be. He was 47 years old.
Little did he know that after he completed that first marathon in Calgary, he would go on to compete in countless other marathons, triathlons, Iron Mans and ultra-marathons. He challenged himself to the grueling Tour d’Afrique which is a roughly 11,000km supported bike race from Cairo to Cape Town. While traveling through some of Africa’s poorest countries he observed how the children were momentarily lifted out of their circumstances as they played a pick-up game of soccer and other sports.
When he returned, he conceived of a fundraising initiative for Right to Play, a global charitable organization that uses the power of sport and play to educate children who are facing adversity, poverty and conflict. He proposed to run 250 marathons in 2010 and raise $250, 000.
On December 31st he achieved his goal of 250 marathons and raised roughly 330, 000 dollars for Right to Play. It was a Guiness World Record. That propelled him to achieve 5 more Guiness World records by 2014 and raising at total of 1.3 million dollars for Right to Play.
In 2015 a blot clot on his brain put him in hospital. He had to learn to walk and speak again. While in hospital, he read the story of Zubrah, a young Afghan woman who ran and won the first Secret Marathon for women organized by Free to Run. Always needing a goal, he promised himself that if he could get himself healthy again, he would participate in the second Secret Marathon.
There are more twists and turns to this story and it continues…
Social Links for Martin Parnell:
Free to Run: https://freetorun.org/
Right to Play: https://www.righttoplay.ca/en-ca/
Secret Marathon film & book: https://thesecretmarathon.com/
Secret Marathon 3k run/walk: https://thesecretmarathon.com/secret3k
Terry Fox: https://terryfox.org/
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