Mark Pollock

UCD Alumni Award in Business

Mark Pollock
Mark Pollock

Mark is an explorer, author and motivational speaker who became the first blind man to race to the South Pole. He lost his sight in his early 20s. He suffered paralysis after a fall in 2010 and has had to rebuild his life again. Now, he is working to help cure paralysis. He is the founder of the global race, Run in the Dark, which will be a virtual event this year.

Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Mark became an adventure athlete competing in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps including being the first blind person to race to the South Pole. He also won silver and bronze medals for rowing at the Commonwealth Games and set up a motivational speaking business (www.markpollock.com).

In 2010 a fall from a second story window nearly killed him. Mark broke his back and the damage to his spinal cord left him paralysed. Now he is on a new expedition, this time to cure paralysis in our lifetime by exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide.

As a speaker, Mark is best known for his 2018 TED Talk focused on resolving the tension between acceptance and hope (go.ted.com/markandsimone) delivered jointly with his fiancée, Simone George. It gathered over 1.5 million views in its first 6 months online and has been translated into 12 languages. He has inspired millions of people in hundreds of organisations and is a Davos, World Economic Forum, InnoTown, F.ounders, EG and Wired speaker.

Co-Founder of the global running series called Run in the Dark (www.runinthedark.org), Mark has been selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and is a former member of the Global Futures Council on Human Enhancement. He is a UBS Global Visionary, is on the Board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (USA) and is a Wings for Life Ambassador (Europe).

In addition, Mark is the subject of the acclaimed documentaries ‘Blind Man Walking’ and ‘Unbreakable – The Mark Pollock Story’, he has been awarded honorary doctorates by The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and also from Queens University Belfast. And, he holds a diploma in Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century from Harvard University, degrees from Trinity College Dublin and The Smurfit Business School.