Meet Born Free star fundraiser Mark Quince


Mark Quince is cycling 1,000 miles in 10 days to raise money for Born Free. His toughest challenge to date, he is taking on Lands’ End to John O’Groats from 1st–10th June.
Mark has been busy training for his mammoth cycle but, made time for a quick chat. 

Mark you’re incredible! Why do want to complete this epic endurance event? 

I have completed many challenges in the past, however, this one is the toughest of all. I believe this challenge matches the importance of Born Free’s values, goals, and achievements, so for me it is perfect and the tougher the challenge the better. Completing it (hopefully) will give me a real sense of achievement and satisfaction and I feel I will have earned every penny of people’s kind donations for Born Free.

Such a vast distance, but what does this cycle challenge consist of? 

It’s an organised event through Peak Tours, they supply support for the route management, any mechanical issues, nutrition, drinks, and overnight arrangements. Each day will start at around 08:30 with an expected 10 hours in the saddle to achieve the daily mileage. The route is broken down into 10 stages, averaging 100 miles each. I start from Land’s End on Day 1 to cycle to Plymouth. Days 1 & 2 are very tough through Cornwall & Devon due to the numerous sharp hills, other big challenges along the way include the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands. Other stop overs in order are: Street, Bewdley, Haydock, Crosthwaite, Moffat, Perth, Grantown-on-Spey, Lairg and John O’Groats.

Have you been training hard? 

Indeed yes, I have been training for around two years for this challenge, not just physically but within the mindset too. In the early stages I just wanted to get on my bike and cycle from A to B as quickly as possible, however, I have had to change to concentrate on endurance and taking care of my body, my mind, nutrition, and fluid intake. I have trained through all seasons, weathers, and temperatures, and have hardly missed a day’s training. Living in Lincolnshire there are not too many climbs, so I have regularly taken myself away to the Yorkshire Dales and Scottish Highlands most recently to get that hill climb work done.

Mileage wise, in the early days I started off at distances around 10 miles, I have now progressed and increased my mileage and stamina & strength to achieve varying mileages of between 50 and 110 regularly. I have managed my diet very well too, with big weight loss but now maintaining the ideal weight. It has been very hard yes, some days I really did not want to go out in the cold and wet, however, these are the times to get it done and now I am reaping the benefits.

Thanks so much for supporting Born Free! Why did you want to raise funds for our charity? 

Over the years I became more aware of Born Free and what the organisation stands for, commits to and achieves, it is all awe inspiring, in particular the leadership of Dame Virginia and her son Will. Through attending functions and listening to what Dame Virginia, Will and other speakers have said, it brings home the cruelty and fat cat nature of some human beings as an unacceptable ignorance and disregard for our fellow living creatures and animals, along with their habitats.

So, it has always been in my mind to get up and do something myself to support Born Free. Outside of this challenge I also sponsor many Born Free animals, which I am very proud to do. If my efforts and pain can raise just a fraction of what Born Free requires to rescue and save mistreated animals, then every single mile of pain will be 100% worth it.

Is there a particular Born Free project close to your heart? 

There are many, however the two that stand out for me are the Born Free campaigns to change public attitudes towards the trophy hunting of lions, which is simply disgusting, cruel and shameful, but also the need to rescue brown bears. I do also follow all of Born Free projects and goals and contribute where and when I can.

A favourite wild animal? 

The lion. When I am on my cycle challenge and I hit those tough moments, when my legs and lungs are burning, I am soaking wet through, fighting against the strong winds and tackling ‘yet another’ big hill, I will just simply think of the images of lions, with their big shiny appealing eyes reaching out for help… this alone will keep me going until the end, even if I fall over the finish line.

Can people support you? 

They can indeed, some kind people have already donated through my Just Giving page, however, this will still be open and available to do so for many weeks to come yet. I also have a blog–website where people can read about my progress and follow what I am doing. I will be updating this daily during the challenge to keep people updated and fully informed on my progress. Also on my blog, I have posted the route for the 10 days, however, I will very soon have more detail on this and will again post this so that people may come out to see me pass by, to offer support through various routes. Any encouragement from Day 1 would be very welcome. I have to date only 33% of my target fundraising, so am reaching out for more support, for which I would be very’ grateful, so that I can reach and potentially surpass my target.

Here are Mark’s links: 

Thanks so much Mark, we’re cheering you on every turn of the pedal!