On Christmas Eve 2007 Mark was on a routine patrol when he stepped on an Afghan mine, becoming the conflict’s first triple amputee. At the brink of despair after being told he’d never walk again, his ‘Marine’s ego’ kicked in and he conquered his new bionic legs. He’s since taken on incredible challenges, including competing in four sports (and winning four medals) at the Invictus Games. In an extraordinarily uplifting speech, Mark proudly explains: “Choose who you listen to, as some won’t believe you can achieve what you want.”
Mark Ormrod served for ten years as a Royal Marine, in both Iraq and Afghanistan. While on manoeuvres in Helmand Province he was caught in a landmine explosion and lost both legs and one arm. In an extraordinary demonstration that life can go on even after tragedy, he’s since completed feats ranging from skydiving to running across America to representing Britain at the Invictus Games.
After defying the odds and surviving the explosion (at one point medics gave up working on him and moved to another soldier), Mark went on to continue to defy expectations at every turn of his rehabilitation. After initially being told he’d never walk again, he first set his sights on standing to receive his campaign medal. The next goal was to walk down aisle with his fiancée (to whom he had proposed in a moment of consciousness whilst in intensive care).
Having achieved those dreams Mark found new challenges, from the mundane, like driving a non-adapted car, to the extraordinary, like taking on a four-man run across America and hand-cycling 3,000 miles around the UK in a single month. He then competed in the Invictus Games, in cycling, rowing, swimming and athletics, where he won four medals (and the Exceptional Performance Award) and was singled out for praise by the Games’ founder, Prince Harry.
In a compelling tale of survival against the odds, thanks to his own grit and determination, as well as a few lessons from life in the Marines, Mark tells of horrific injuries and remarkable recovery. He explains how, at the very brink of despair, his ‘Marine’s ego’ kicked in and he conquered his new bionic legs. In an authentic and uplifting presentation, he proudly describes the journey – and that, whatever the setbacks, the human spirit in an unbreakable thing.
Mark has written an account of his experiences in his book Man Down, carried the Olympic torch in 2012, and works for a number of charities, including the Royal Marines Association, raising money for veterans, the injured and bereaved families.
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The first thing to strike you about Mark is his resilience and humour. You’ll catch yourself laughing even as he describes retreating from the scene of the bomb blast, and wincing when he recalls standing on his prosthetic limbs forthe first time. The message is clear: measurable goals are the only way to overcome obstacles – whether in business or running across America. JLA Agent Paul Warran
JLA Speakers Breakfast - October 2012
Ormrod on captive audiences