An inspiring memoir that details one man’s determination to help disadvantaged children through the power of sport while dealing with the dramatic realities of his body’s own physical limitations.
In 2010, at age 55, Martin Parnell began tackling a series of extreme sporting challenges which became known as “Quests for Kids,” designed to help improve the lives of 20,000 children through sport and play programs.
Martin set himself the goal of completing ten “Quests” in five years, which included “Marathon Quest 250” (250 marathons in one year); “Netball Quest 61” (playing netball for 61 hours); “Lacrosse Quest 24” (playing lacrosse for 24 hours); “Cook Island Quest 100” (running around the island of Rarotonga three times, completing a distance of 100 kilometres); “Soccer Quest 42” (playing five-a-side soccer for 42 hours); “Hockey Quest 500” (participating in the world’s largest exhibition hockey game: 374 players); “Kilimanjaro Quest 95.2” (completing the 42.2 kilometre Kilimanjaro Marathon and then climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 21 hours three days later); “TransRockies Quest 888” (completing nine TransRockies events covering 920 kilometres over six months, including road running, trail running, road biking and mountain biking races), “Rotary Coastal Quest 630” (running 1014 kilometres along the South West Coast Path of England in 25 days) and “Canada Quest for Kids” (visiting 10 universities from BC to Newfoundland and attempting 10 Guinness World Records in 25 days) with the aim of raising $1-million for the children’s charity Right To Play.
Despite his high level of fitness, in early 2015, Parnell was confronted with the devastating news that doctors had found a large and rare blood clot on his brain. He was immediately hospitalized and had to face the reality of close to one year of limited physical activity. His plans for a professional speaking career and further athletic endeavours were put on hold.
Martin’s second book highlights many of his most recent and remarkable sporting and philanthropic achievements, while also giving personal insight into what it means to slow down and focus on moving forward in the face of physical limitations.
Parnell’s resolve and enthusiasm is infectious. He writes about Daniel, a boy who couldn’t play ball hockey because of brittle bone disease but was there to cheer: “Sometimes you meet people with a life force that burns like a Roman candle. Daniel improves the lives of everyone he meets.” It takes one to know one, and readers are bound to enjoy stories from this wonder of a man.