Belfast Telegraph

South Pole first for blind Mark

Mark Pollock (29) from Holywood thought his life was over when he lost his sight seven years ago, but since then he has travelled the world, set up his own business, rowed for his country in the Commonwealth Games
Mark Pollock (29) from Holywood thought his life was over when he lost his sight seven years ago, but since then he has travelled the world, set up his own business, rowed for his country in the Commonwealth Games

A Holywood man has become the first blind person in the world to reach the South Pole.

Mark Pollock, 29, lost his sight at the age of 22 but since then has carried out a series of challenging adventures which culminated in him and his Team South Pole Flag ending their trek on January 27.

With him were team mates Simon O’Donnell from Dublin and Norwegian Inge Solheim.

The trio were among six teams which took part in the first Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole race in almost 100 years since the famous showdown between Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen in 1912.

It saw Mark and his colleagues travel 1,000km in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.

Mark, who is on his way home from the South Pole, told our sister paper the Belfast Telegraph that he was “on top of the world” as a result of his achievement.

“For a year we’ve been waiting to get here, but it didn’t really hit until we had only an hour left to go before reaching the Pole,” he said.

“In other races I’ve felt relieved to be at the finish line. But with this, although I’m glad to be finished, I’m even more glad I took part.”

Team South Pole Flag planted a Flag of 500 Faces upon arrival at the Pole. “The flag represents much more than us completing the race,” Mark continued.

“Over the past 12 months, 500 people have supported us behind the scenes. I kept the flag on my sled all the way, so it served as a reminder of the support behind us. And for me the flag also represents the support I have received over the past 10 years after I went blind,” he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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