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Mark overcomes major challenges to open new gym


A sudden loss of sight and being registered blind has not been a barrier to Mark Long, who has opened a gym at his home in Stonehouse.

“I have been involved in the fitness industry for the past 24 years as a personal trainer, working with several professional athletes and teams. I also managed the sports facilities at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) for 10 years,” explained Mark.

“When Covid hit the RAU gym closed, so I began working as a tree surgeon as my main source of income. During this period, I continued with my main passion of coaching clients. However, this was on a limited basis as I no longer had a facility to work out of.

“My vision deteriorated rapidly in 2021 leaving me registered as blind within a matter of months. I have lost any useful vision in my left eye, whereas my right is similar to looking through a tube. The condition I have is believed to be a genitive mutation as there is no history of blindness within my family. It’s called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) lots of people may have heard this being referred to as tunnel vision.”

DSC3307 | Mark overcomes major challenges to open new gym
Mark Long and his guide dog, Mary, at The Coach House. Pic: Matt Bigwood.

“As I had always worked within the fitness industry, as a family we decided continuing to work in an area that I was passionate about and have a wealth of knowledge in would be the best option for me.

“This would give me the independence and self-worth that I needed to feel like the old me again.  We were fortunate enough to have the space to be able to purpose build a private and self-contained personal training studio at our property.

“This is what lead us to the decision to build an extension on our home, for my purpose-built gym, The Coach House.”

DSC3339 | Mark overcomes major challenges to open new gym
Mark Long at The Coach House. Pic: Matt Bigwood.

Mark has had terrific support from his family: “I am so fortunate to have the most wonderful family. My wife, Elaina, and daughter, Arabella, have been with me through every step of this process. Picking me up when I’ve felt down and allowing me to believe anything is possible with these two by my side.

“Seeing how my fabulous wife and daughter have dealt with this, has been a huge help for me to not to give up. I’m SO proud of them for everything. Ultimately, I have no choice in this situation so have to deal with it. But these two have just taken it in their stride, their support has never wavered.”

Mark now has a guide dog, Mary, who arrived in January and has transformed his life: “She has been so life enhancing, not just for me but also my family, enabling me to get out and about more freely and continue to have a fun, fulfilling life.”

What would Mark say to people facing similar challenges?

“If people are experiencing any adversity, it’s not the end, it’s just the start of something new. Don’t give up. Surround yourself with positive influences and keep embracing life. You can do it.”

Instagram: Fitness coaching by Mark (@_the_coach_house_) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61551690096891

Email:  32thecoachhouse@gmail.com

Phone 07921466717 to chat about any fitness goals you may have.

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