“Why live life on the edge when you can jump off it”
Born into a farming family in Wales, where rugby is almost a religion, from childhood Marcus set his sights on a career in professional sport; his ambition – to play for his country. Much of his life, while working towards this goal, was spent outdoors walking, climbing, camping and he was never happier than when he was out with nature in all its fierce glory.
His early passion for rugby did see him represent Wales at the Junior Rugby World Cup and he was on his way to achieving his childhood ambition when his career was cut short by injury. Having no choice but to make the tough decision to change the course of his life, he looked to his other passions, writing and travel, and he got a job in Cape Town where he spent the next three years writing for one of the world’s leading rugby publications.
When Marcus told his family he was finally coming home to Wales, they didn’t expect him to arrive over fourteen months later. On his epic journey of over 20,000km, through 27 countries, by bus, train, foot and boat, he was chased by bandits, imprisoned in Malawi, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, lived with remote tribes and fed wild hyenas from his mouth. Marcus’ love of adventure was re-ignited.
Having arrived in London, and working as a business journalist after his African adventure, three things happened. Marcus met his wife, got itchy feet again, and put on a noticeable amount of weight from all those business lunches. So, the first and most urgent challenge he took on was to undergo a ‘fat to fit’ body transformation. This massive change saw him featured in Men’s Health magazine. Following this transformation, he turned his focus to cycling and mountaineering as he sought out new avenues of adventure and exploration.
Having previously only cycled to the shops, he discovered he loved the sport. In 2014, after just 6 months of serious cycling, he entered the Tour du Mont Blanc, often called the ‘world’s toughest one-day bike event’. Powered by enthusiasm, but blinded by ignorance and scant experience, he failed that first attempt. He got back up, reflected and learned the lessons from that failure, started again and succeeded the following year.
Over the next 4 years, in between getting married and having his first child, Marcus’ journey of discovery led to an ever-evolving fascination with the potential of the human mind and body. Testing the limits of this potential – mental and physical - has seen him scale Europe’s highest mountains, and cycle the three Grand Tours - the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana - all in one year, something fewer than sixty people have achieved in the 73 years that those three great races have existed. Close to 11,000km in 63 days, this represents an immense test of body and mind.
This adventure was full of highs and lows, heartache and tears. The final leg was completed with no professional support at all, just his wife and two-year-old son following in a motorhome, requiring immense courage, spirit and determination, but he did it.
Since then he has gone on to compete in the Middle East’s first ever ultra cycling race in Oman, and take part in the hardest of the Bikingman series in Corsica with climbs totalling 12,000m in a 720km race.
Now with his second child on the way, living in Wales with his family, Marcus is planning his next adventure with the same excitement and trepidation but with renewed purpose. His intent is not just to push the boundaries for himself, but to use his experiences to help others understand that in the face of fear or uncertainty, small changes in our minds can help develop a champions’ mindset, and bring huge rewards.