AECC Loans Exercise Equipment For Thousand-Mile Challenge

Before lockdown restrictions came into force, the team at AECC University College organised the loan of key exercise equipment to help Invictus Medallist and decorated Royal Marine, Mark Bowra MBE, continue training for an epic challenge from his garage.

The original plan was to cycle e-assisted Ice Trikes over 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Lands’ End, climbing the Three Peaks and Pen Y Fan; paddling Loch Awe; and swimming and paddling Lake Windermere and Lake Bala. 

Mark – who recovered from a massive stroke in 2014 – planned to complete the challenge in 39 days in June.

He has been training for months, working with Director of AECC University College’s Chiropractic Clinic, Dr Neil Osborne. Upon learning that Mark’s challenge would most likely have to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Neil quickly worked with the team at AECC and Performance Coach, Bernie Shrosbree, to organise delivery of an AECC treadmill, spin bike and rowing machine to Mark’s garage.

We’re pleased to announce that Mark will today begin his impressive 1000-mile challenge virtually. He will complete the #Bowra1000 Challenge day by day, mile by mile using the static equipment provided for him. He is also hopeful that he will be able to complete some of the distance outdoors in the local area.

The remote Challenge will take place throughout the month, with the aim of Mark completing the journey on Saturday 11 July. You can follow his progress over on the Bowra Foundation Facebook page: @BowraFoundation.

Mark’s Story

In 2014, as a decorated Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marines, Mark suffered a massive stroke that almost killed him and led him to be hospitalised for over a year.

Rather than give in to his condition, Mark sought out specialists, aids and support from the very early days of his recovery and has worked tirelessly to build on his residual fitness, make progress and defy expectations.

Mark Bowra with AECC team

Image: Mark Bowra training with the AECC team before lockdown restrictions were in place. 

Challenge in Isolation

Helen Patrick, Operations Manager at the Bowra Foundation, explains: “We were so sorry to have to postpone the challenge, whilst understanding that lockdown, shielding and social distancing measures have been crucial to navigate the crisis.

“We were touched by the speed and determination with which Neil, Bernie and the team at AECC University College acted.

“The loan of this equipment means that Mark can continue his rehabilitation and training from home and even simulate the challenge day by day, discipline by discipline. Keeping momentum with physical rehabilitation and regular training is critical for Mark’s stroke recovery, mental health and sense of self.

“For the Bowra Foundation, we were desperate to find a way to keep engaging with people who are particularly vulnerable and isolated. The AECC’s help has allowed us to do just that.”

Mark has also created a series of videos demonstrating strengthening exercises that can be done at home. You can take a look at these here.

About the Bowra Foundation

Now an Invictus Gold Medalist, Mark has dedicated himself to helping others find their inner strength and motivation. He established the Bowra Foundation under the motto 'What's Inside Matters’. The aim of the Foundation is to inspire and provide practical help to assist individuals who suffer from neurological disorders to propel their own rehabilitation.

The Bowra Foundation exists to bring together members of the Armed Forces Community and people with neurological disorders. It aims to build resilience amongst people in both groups, reduce isolation, get fit, push themselves and have fun. 

You can read more here: