I have always been known as Stodge, my real name is Mark Stodgell. I was born in Taunton, Somerset, UK in 1972. Im an Orienteer, Mountain Biker, and in my spare time I work as an information management consultant on really cool construction projects.
I now live in Milford, nr Stafford on the side of Cannock Chase, where I train and my family and I generally enjoy ourselves. I am married to Cath, also an Orienteer and have a 14 year old daughter, Holly.
Keep on reading if you want to know anymore….. If not thanks for dropping by and having a look at my Blog.
Those wanting to get in touch my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
My Running and Biking history
I started Orienteering at School (Taunton School) when I was 10. Other than big events such as JKs and BOCs I mainly orienteered in the South West whilst growing up. Although a member of the South West Junior Squad I never made a British Junior tour.
I completed my first Mountain Marathon (Saunders) when I was 16.
At 17 I started X – Country running for the School, and became Team Captain and had two successful seasons, culminating in 1st reserve for the County Team. I also completed two seasons of Athletics concentrating on 3000m (PB 10.01)
However throughout this period I was plagued with many ankle injuries and my training was always limited by the after effects of Osgood-Schlatters Disease is my knees.
I completed my A-Levels and went to Cardiff University. I did a year of Civil engineering, then transferred to Architecture. I stayed reasonably fit in my first year, but over the next 5 years my fitness reduced to that of a normal club orienteer. Knee and ankle injuries always were the limiting factor every time I tried to push my running training and I never managed to run elite.
I started Mountain Biking in my first year in Cardiff, buying a Kona Fire Mountain in the spring of 1991.
I spent many Wednesday afternoons with the University Mountain biking club in 1991/1992 until the Degree workload got too heavy.
Mountain biking then became something I did 5 or 6 times a year recreationaly, and although I was technically competent I was never ‘fit’ on a bike.
I have always enjoyed the mountains and the outdoors generally. I have walked and run countless times in Scotland, the Lakes and North Wales, often enjoying the lesser visited lower tops.
In 2002 I became probably the fittest in running terms since school, and came 6th on M21L at the British Champs in Northern Ireland. Sand Dunes and sand dune forest have always been my favourite.
However through that summer I started to get some Plantar Fasciitis which didn’t respond to treatment. Eventually I resorted to orthotics which more or less solved the problem. However there was still a niggle. The Podiatrist made some new orthotics which were much more extreme. I then started to get some pain in the rear of the ball of my right foot. To cut a long story short I essentially ended up by that Christmas and for the following year not being able to walk more than 100m or so without being in severe pain.
Over the next 3 years I had all sorts of tests, saw 4 Podiatrists, had Cortisone injections into the sesamoids, all without much improvement.
It was around this time I started to do more mountain biking and bought a second hand ex team raleigh bike and competed in a couple of Trailquests, however not being able to push a bike uphill and foot pain after about 1 hours riding limited me somewhat.
I finally saw Proff Rolf in the January 2005, who gave me a MRI scan which showed a broken dead sessamoid. He then removed it in an operation 2 weeks later. I was on crutches for nearly 2 months, and then started a very long recovery, which essentially took 2 years. In this frustrating time I did more and more mountain biking and for 18 months Slalom Canoeing with Matlock CC.
I bought a new mountain bike in the May of 2005 and then did the summer season of Dark and White trailquests and got hooked.
After essentially 4 years of little exercise my weight had gone up to 87 kilograms and I had become very unfit. 2006 and 2007 saw me doing more and more mountain biking as my foot improved. The summer of 2007 proved to be a turning point when I became much fitter. I was able to run far more and I did my first Polaris – 4th Male Solo.
In 2008 I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent GB at the Eurpoean Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in Lithuania. I surprised a few and started this blog just after.
My goals for 2009 were to gain selection for the British Team again and to get a top 5 placing at the middle race at the British Championships which I achieved and I then spent then couple of years getting fitter and fitter, racing MTBOs all over Eurpoe. I made the top 50 in the world rankings and managed a couple of placings in the 20s at World Cups.
In 2011 I was at my peak, weight at 70kgs and racing XC as well as MTBO. I managed a 25th place at the Wiggle 6 hour, 11th at a Strathpuffer 24 and 12th in a team of 4 at sleepless in the saddle.
In the Autumn of 2011 I was racing in Russia at the European MTBO champs when I did my back in. I think it had been coming for a while but I came home in a right state. I had to stop racing and training and had treatment over the next 6 months but the summer of 2012 saw me off work on morphine….
A long road to recovery started (all here in this blog) and I started riding properly again at the beginning of 2014. Things are now great again and I am riding and running regularly ( as long as I dont do anything daft)
In 2016 I raced at the World Masters MTBO and was amazed to get a 4th. In 2017 I became a Pearl Izumi Champion team member and I am hoping this will be the impetus I need to get racing fit again….