Martin Parnell

Martin Parnell

Calgary, Canada
(403) 668-1669
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Event Types
Keynotes for Associations, Conferences and Conventions
Speaking Topics
Adventure and Travel, Change, Exercise/Training, Goal Setting, Health and Wellness, Leadership, Personal Change, Wellness
IdeaCity11, Sun Life Financial, Canadian Wealth Management, Avanti Software, Alberta Association of Recreation Facilities Personnel and Centron Group of Companies.
Travel Info
As required
See above
Target Audience
Leadership, Change, Team building, Goal setting and achieving, performance improvement.
Speaker Bio

At 47, Martin Parnell wasn’t in running shape. Now only 13 years later, he’s completed an astonishing 250 marathons in one year, set five Guinness World Records, summited Kilimanjaro in 21 hours and traversed 1,000 kms around the South West Coast Path of England in 25 days. At the end of 2014, he finished his “Quests for Kids” initiative, completing 10 quests in 5 years, raising $1.36 m 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 member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario, the Human Resources Institute of Alberta and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

He is a member of the Rotary Club of Cochrane and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in October 2012. In January 2013 he was named as one of the Calgary Heralds “20 Compelling Calgarians”. Martin has made numerous keynote presentations across Canada. Clients include: Sun Life Financial, Canadian Wealth Management, Avanti Software, Alberta Association of Recreation Facilities Personnel, Centron Construction and over 100 schools.

He is author of “MARATHON QUEST”, published by Rocky Mountain Books, which shows how, through determination and persistence, one person can affect change, one step at a time. Martin is married to Sue; they have three children, Kyle, Kristina and Calum and three grandchildren, Autumn, Nathan and Matthew.

 Speaker Topics

  • 1. One Step Beyond: A Year of Running Dangerously

    Martin takes his audience on a journey from his nine-to-five life as a HR manager, in a medium-sized mining company, to the completion of his 250th marathon on December 31st 2010. Along the way, Martin shares his stories of crossing Africa on a four-month cycling odyssey, from Cairo to Cape Town, and his inspirational entrance into the world of endurance racing.

  • 2. Shoot for the Moon: 12 million Steps For Man - $250,000 For Mankind

    “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land among the stars”. Martin talks about setting the dual goals of running 250 marathons in one year, whilst attempting to raise $250,000 for the children’s charity Right To Play. He recounts the trials and obstacles he had to contend with in order to achieve his goals. Join him on the journey of a lifetime.

  • 3.The Will to Prepare: Project Management on the Run

    “The will to win means nothing without the will be prepare”. The dual objectives of Marathon Quest 250 were to run 250 marathons in one year and raise $250,000 for the children’s charity Right To Play. Martin explains how a “project management” approach was used during the six months preparation for Marathon Quest 250. Let him take you back in time, as he travels through 2010, overcoming the many obstacles and challenges he faced before achieving his goals.

  • 4. What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger: The Secret to Health and Happiness

    In 2010, Martin completed a 10,550km running odyssey. His objective was to run 250 marathons and raise $250,000 for the children’s charity Right To Play. He’ll share with you some of his innovative solutions to the injuries and aliments he suffered during the 12 month period and how he had to adjust his nutrition in order to keep healthy. Finally, Martin will discuss the results of a battery of tests he underwent, upon the completion of his adventure. Remember: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

  • Mr. Parnell was able to engage and captivate audiences, ranging in size from one hundred to five hundred people, with his profound passion and inspirational message. His energy, enthusiasm and humour, kept his audience spell bound. Students were able to hear from a man who embodies global citizenship, and were swept up in the desire to actively participate in assisting their peers around the world. His dedication and commitment to his goal gave us all something to which we can aspire. 

    Calgary Board of Education

  • We were honoured to partner with Martin in his fundraising efforts and to support his Marathon Quest 250 objective to raise funds for Right to Play.  Martin was a fantastic speaker, proving that anything is possible if we put our heart and soul into it.  His words and energetic spirit moved all in attendance to do what they can to make a difference.  Thank you Martin, for making a difference in the lives of children around the world!!!

    Canadian Wealth Management

  • Martin Parnell is the most disciplined, hard-working madman you could ever hope to meet. His year-long quest to run 250 marathons and raise over $300,000 for Right to Play is truly inspirational. May you have the pleasure of hearing him talk about persevering through tough times to accomplish the impossible.

    Cadence PR
  • Running a marathon is a goal only a few will achieve. How about running two hundred and fifty of them? Martin Parnell not only completed this unbelievable test of mind and body in only one short year, he also exceeded his target of raising $250,000 for Right to Play. As a supporter of his campaign I followed his progress closely, and admired his ability to keep his energy and enthusiasm strong during the numerous interviews, presentations and TV and radio appearances. Martin is an excellent speaker and steadily and single-handedly gained the support he needed to accomplish his fundraising goal. The focus, determination and astounding effort he put forth was a sight to behold. I would highly recommend Martin Parnell for any opportunities where others may hear from him and learn more about his incredible journey during Marathon Quest 250.

    Dr. Thomas P. Wilk
  • Martin has inspired people of all ages through his determination and spirit. Whilst pursuing his goal to raise $250,000 for the children's charity, Right To Play, he faced many challenges and overcame them with one thought in mind "It's for the children". With no major sponsors, he used his wits, grit and humour to not only reach, but exceed his goal. Having heard him speak to different groups, one is left with nothing but admiration for this man who, single-handedly, raised awareness amongst thousands of people and has benefited the lives of hundreds of children, in countries all over the world. As a friend and fellow runner, I would urge anyone to take the time to hear Martin tell his incredible story.

    QuorTech Equities
  • I would like to recommend Martin Parnell as a motivational speaker from both a professional and personal context. His sheer will and determination overcame the mental and physical stress his body endured throughout 2010 on his 250 marathon quest. His upbeat and passionate approach will inspire you and the audience to personally reflect on how you can make your own lives better in your own way. Just as Martin completed his massive journey step-by-step, with times for rest, you too, can improve yourself with a simple, similar approach.

    Inspiration Health Professionals Inc
Associations / Memberships

Member Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA)

Member Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO)

Member Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO)

Member Canadian Association of Professional Speakers  (CAPS)

Member Rotary Club of Cochrane, Alberta

4A Professional Services covideo mmatters ccontact reach nexus The OGM
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