Mark Holloway served as an infantry Platoon Sergeant with The Rifles. Whilst on his third tour of Afghanistan December 2011, Mark was very seriously injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). The fragmentations ripped through his right forearm severing the radial artery, causing catastrophic bleeding and also damaging the tendons and nerves supplying control and movement to his hand and wrist.
He was flown to Camp Bastion by American Special Forces Rescue to have lifesaving surgery, before being flown back to the UK, to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham (QEHB). From QEHB Mark was sent home to recover and after about three months went to the Defence Rehabilitation and Medical Centre, Headley Court for intense physio and rehab.
“I met a lot of soldiers who had been more seriously injured than I, guys that had lost both legs. They focused on walking with their prosthetic legs, they accepted the adversity and got on with it. So inspirational” says Mark. Inspired by the other soldier, Mark began competing in World’s Toughest Mudders only 2 years after his injury.
First, he completed the World’s Toughest Mudder New Jersey in 2013, then the WTM Las Vegas in 2014, and in November 2016 he completed his fourth World’s Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas. The extreme 5-mile WTM obstacle course challenges elite athletes to complete as many laps as they can in the 24 hours.
In the 2016 WTM, Mark did incredibly well, completing 17 laps of the supercharged World’s Toughest Mudder course and covered a total of 85 miles. “I conquered some insane and fun obstacles 264 times and finished 12th in the world” said Mark after he earned his place as the top UK male and came in 12th out of 1,200 competitors.
“It was genuinely the hardest physical event I’ve ever experienced but I put myself through it to raise money for Help for Heroes. They provided me with everything I needed to get me through my recovery and back to work. If I had not been injured I never would have been exposed to how great this charity is” says Mark, who is a Tough Mudder-Help for Heroes Ambassador.
Now, Mark spends his days training future Army Officers at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, volunteering, and training for a minimum of 2 hours a day for future Tough Mudder events.