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Martin Parnell

Athlete, International Keynote Speaker, Author and World Record Holder.

At 47, Martin Parnell wasn’t in running shape. Now 14 years later, he’s completed an astonishing 250 marathons in one year, set five Guinness World Records, summitted Mount Kilimanjaro in 21 hours and ran 1000km around the coast of England in 25 days.

In 2010 Martin ran 250 marathons and raised $320,000 for the children’s charity Right To Play. At the end of 2014 he finished his “Quests for Kids” initiative, completing 10 quests in 5 years, raising $1.3M for Right To Play and changing the lives of over 27,000 of the world’s most disadvantaged children.

With 25 years experience in the Canadian mining industry, Martin has held positions of responsibility in engineering, operating and human resources.

He is a Rotarian, an author and keynote speaker.

Martin is married to his wife Sue; they have three children, Kyle, Kristina and Calum and three grandchildren, Autumn aged 12, Nathan aged 7 and Matthew Conner aged 2.
Paddle Boats Of Afghanistan: A Country Of

Paddle Boats Of Afghanistan: A Country Of Contrasts

It's been almost three months since I ran the Marathon of Afghanistan and I have been asked many questions about the race. However, that was only seven hours out of an 11 day trip and I would like to share with you some of the other incredible aspects of my experience.
02/02/2017 11:42 EST
Homeward Bound: My Run 1014 kms Around the South West Coast

Homeward Bound: My Run 1014 kms Around the South West Coast Path

My suitcase is waiting, ready for me to pack, as I prepare for my trip to England. On Saturday I'm heading over to the U.K. and on Tuesday, March 4 I start my attempt to run 1014 kms around the South West Coast Path. Trying to decide what to take has been difficult.
02/21/2014 08:35 EST
How I Got Lost in the Yukon

How I Got Lost in the Yukon Wilderness

It's 3:30 p.m. and won't be long before darkness falls. The ice fog is rolling across the trail and frost hangs from the trees and bushes like a white blanket. I've got enough water for a couple of hours but there's a small hitch, I don't know where I am. Should I continue on this road or turn back? Am I heading towards Whitehorse or Dawson City? Time to make a decision.
02/20/2014 12:12 EST
Scotiabank Calgary Marathon: Think of the

Scotiabank Calgary Marathon: Think of the Children

I love the Calgary Marathon. I first ran it in 2003 and the only reason I entered was because my brother Peter had challenged me to. At the age of forty-seven, running wasn't part of my life and I really wasn't that interested.
01/23/2014 02:38 EST
How to Beat your New Years Resolution

How to Beat your New Years Resolution Deadline

New Years Resolutions are a pain in the butt. On January 1st you get all enthusiastic about the changes you're going to make. Maybe quit smoking, drop a few of pounds or eat more fish.
12/09/2013 04:11 EST
First Winter

First Winter Run

I knew this day would come, sooner or later. The two runs I had completed earlier this week, were around zero Celsius and the weather forecast for the weekend was cold, very cold. It's 6.30am on Sunday morning and I'm looking through frosted glass at the outside thermometer. The red mercury line is at -22C, and I later find out its -26C with the wind chill.
11/18/2013 01:48 EST
Lights, Camera, Action - Making a Pitch to National

Lights, Camera, Action - Making a Pitch to National Geographic

I've often thought that Marathon Quest 250 would have made a great reality TV show. One man, 250 marathons, one year, attempting to raise $250,000 to help kids around the world. There would have been blood, numerous falls on trails and roads with scrapes to knees and hands; sweat, hour upon hour of pounding the pavement 5 marathons a week, and tears, a bad leg injury early on, would that be the end of the Quest? Would I let down the 5,000 children I had pledged to help?
11/07/2013 05:02 EST
Right To Play National Inspirational Speaker

Right To Play National Inspirational Speaker Series

As we visited school after school, Basil would introduce us to teachers he had taught. The schools were mostly in Charlottetown and we had a couple of country schools as well. The group size ranged from 50 to 450 and grades 3 to 9.
10/31/2013 05:31 EDT
TransRockies Quest 888: The

TransRockies Quest 888: The End

At 11.05am on Monday October 14th, I was sitting on a sandstone ledge, enjoying the desert views on Getaway Trail, just outside of Moab, Utah. I had just completed 18 kms on Stage three of the TransRockies Moab Rocks mountain bike race. More significantly, I had hit the 888 kms target I had set for Quest #8, TransRockies Quest 888.
10/21/2013 06:22 EDT

Dream Weaver

On Saturday October 5th, the Annual Monumental Tournament of Aces was held at the Links of GlenEagles, in Cochrane. Kelly and Diane Kimmett, their family and friends have held this event for the last six years in memory of their daughter, Lindsay who tragically passed away in 2008.
10/10/2013 04:42 EDT
Right To Play: The Indomitable Spirit Of Our Northern

Right To Play: The Indomitable Spirit Of Our Northern Neighbours

Brad had spent twenty years battling addictions but the turning point came when he saw a poster for the 2005 BMO Vancouver Marathon. Not only did he run it but he came in 743 out of 5,000 athletes. Shortly before the article I was reading was published, Brad, whose running name is "Caribou Legs", had just finished an incredible ultra-run.
10/03/2013 05:04 EDT

TransRockies Heli-Run

One of my favourite shows this summer has been Bear Grylls "Get Out Alive". Bear is a British adventurer, ex SAS member and youngest ever Chief Scout. In "Get Out Alive", Bear took ten teams of two to New Zealand. There, they had to endure many physical and mental tests, including being dropped into a freezing lake from a helicopter, crossing a gorge on a rope, traversing a glacier full of crevasses, building a raft and riding it down a raging river. The winning team collected $500,000.
09/23/2013 06:03 EDT
Cochrane Classic Car Show and Shine, and Right to

Cochrane Classic Car Show and Shine, and Right to Play

As a young man, one of my greatest pleasures was hitting a winding road in a two-seater, open-top sports car. On Sunday September 15th., I volunteered at the Cochrane Classic Car Show and Shine and, seeing some of the wonderful vehicles which took part, certainly took me back to the days of my youth. Ken Hutchinson, President of the Cochrane Classic Car Group, asked if I could get some volunteers, who regularly represent Right To Play to help out.
09/17/2013 05:16 EDT
TransRockies Tour of

TransRockies Tour of Alberta

On Sunday September 8th I was at Seaman Stadium, Okotoks, with my buddies Kevin and Roy. We were there to participate in... the TransRockies Tour of Alberta. This was an opportunity for recreational riders to cycle some of the same terrain that the professional teams would be covering on the 6th stage of the Tour of Alberta. It was also my seventh event in TransRockies Quest 888. If I could complete the 130 km course then I would achieve 751 kms towards my target of 888 kms.
09/11/2013 05:47 EDT
Quests for Kids: Mile-High City and High Levels of Pain at TransRockies

Quests for Kids: Mile-High City and High Levels of Pain at TransRockies Run

On August 12th I was flying into Denver and still feeling the effects of the four-day Transrockies Challenge. I had got pretty beaten up, riding my mountain bike, navigating trail sections between Blairmore and Canmore. It had been just over a week since it was completed and the cuts and bruises were starting to heal.
09/03/2013 04:43 EDT
TransRockies Challenge Teaches Quest 888 Some Tough

TransRockies Challenge Teaches Quest 888 Some Tough Lessons

TransRockies Quest 888 had reached a critical juncture. I had completed one road running race, two ultra trail running races, one road bike race and covered 297 kms towards my total of 888 kms. It was now time for my first mountain bike race. This was a bit of an issue as I'm not a mountain biker.
08/06/2013 05:21 EDT
24 Hours of Adrenalin Comes Through For Right to

24 Hours of Adrenalin Comes Through For Right to Play

On Saturday, July 20th at 1.30pm, I was hurtling down a single track trail, on my mountain bike, at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta. I was holding on for dear life and getting rattled around like a bag of bolts. This was the first lap of two that I would complete during the 24 hours of Adrenalin.
07/24/2013 04:00 EDT