Instructor 'ScubaMark' to Run Charity Marathons in Full Scuba Gear
A scuba diving instructor is to run two marathons in a complete set of scuba gear to raise money for Project AWARE.
'ScubaMark' - who wishes to remain anonymous to focus attention on the fundraiser, rather than himself - is a 33-year-old instructor from Dublin, Ireland; a PADI MSDT and personal trainer whose passion for the plight of the world's oceans has led him to sign up for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, 13 October with a team from project AWARE, and also the Dublin Marathon, which will be held two weeks later.
Having learned to dive in 2009 and subsequently trained to become an instructor in Koh Tao, Thailand, in 2016, Mark quickly became aware of the scale of the problems facing the world's oceans, particularly with regards to marine debris. Guiding a dive as a newly qualified instructor, Mark was horrified to see the dive site almost entirely covered in fishing nets.
'Fishing trawlers would just drag their nets behind their boats and when they got caught in pinnacles, they would cut them loose and continue on. We noticed several fish had died after being caught between the net and pinnacle,' said Mark, talking about the experience. 'The horrible consequences of human actions finally hit me and I’ve tried to actively make a difference ever since.'
Although Mark has run a number of marathons in the past, and as a personal trainer specialising in powerlifting is familiar with lifting heavy weights, hauling a full set of kit weighing 15kg over 26 miles (42km) adds a significant extra dimension to the challenge.
'People have asked me why I am doing this as it is extremely tough and risky for my health and body,' said Mark. 'I feel the risk is necessary to show people my passion for this cause. The few hours of pain and suffering I may endure during the marathon is a reflection on how tough change can be, but once I cross that finish line, once the world crosses the starting points of change, the rewards are life-changing.'
Adding to the money he hopes to raise through sponsorship the ScubaMarathon, 'Scuba Mark' has also launched a charity raffle in association with PADI, and Apeks has donated an XL4+ regulator to the fundraiser. Any diver who makes a donation of €5 or more can hazard a guess at Mark's finishing time to be in with the chance of winning the XL4+, and any PADI pro who donates €5 to the fundraiser has the chance to receive their 2020 membership renewal for free.
Mark is currently in training for the marathons. After starting with short runs in a 10kg weight vest and slowly increasing the distance over time, he is now running with a full set of gear. 'Scuba equipment is obviously not designed for running in any way,' he said, '[but] it has been going very well and I am on target to complete the challenge.'
'I honestly cannot bear to watch what we are doing to the planet and its inhabitants,' said Mark. 'As a lover of the ocean, I'm very aware that ocean protection depends on all of our actions, large and small.'
You can find ScubaMark's ScubaMarathon page at www.facebook.com/ScubaMarathon, and make online donations at www.facebook.com/donate/1075827385958961/. To enter the raffle for PADI Pros, visit www.facebook.com/events/472016383607606/