An Irish diving instructor is training to compete in this year’s Dublin Marathon in full scuba gear, including cylinder, to raise funds for ocean protection.
Running 26 miles with 15kg on your back is a serious challenge, says the PADI instructor, who prefers to be known as Scuba Mark. The 33-year-old started diving 10 years ago in the Caribbean and qualified as an instructor in 2016 in Thailand. He is now a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer.
“People have asked me why I’m doing this, as it’s extremely tough and risky for my health and body,” he says. “I feel the risk is necessary to show people my passion for this cause. I honestly cannot bear to watch what we’re doing to the planet and its inhabitants.
“I have run marathons in several locations around the world, so the legs definitely have the mileage in them, but the introduction of 15kg of scuba equipment has obviously added some extra complications,” he told Divernet. “As I’m a personal trainer who specialises in power-lifting, my legs are used to heavy weight.
“I started training with short runs in a 10kg weight-vest and have slowly increased the distance. I’m now training in the actual scuba equipment, which has been difficult as it’s obviously not designed for running in any way. It’s been going very well, though, and I’m on target to complete the challenge.”
29 July 2019
As a newly qualified instructor in Koh Tao, Scuba Mark found himself leading divers around a site covered in fishing-nets. “Thai trawlers would just drag their nets behind their boats and, when they got caught in pinnacles, cut them loose and continue. The horrible consequences of human actions hit me, and I’ve tried to make a difference ever since.”
The Dublin Marathon takes place on 27 October but a fortnight earlier Scuba Mark plans to run in the USA as part of conservation body Project AWARE’s Chicago Marathon team – though on that occasion without the loaded BC.
His aim is to raise at least £3000 “to help secure a brighter future for the health of our ocean”.
Divers who make donations could win an Apeks XL4+ regulator if they get close to guessing his finishing time in Dublin, while a raffle offers PADI pros the chance to win free membership renewal next year.
Follow Scuba Mark on Facebook or donate here.