Catterick Garrison veteran shortlisted for prestigious award

Mark Tonner. Photo: Help for Heroes.

Catterick Garrison veteran and the World’s Strongest Disabled Man Mark Tonner has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2022 Soldiering On Awards in the Sporting Excellence category.

The award honours a person that has overcome challenges in pursuit of sporting excellence, demonstrating outstanding achievement in the field of sport and contributing to the endeavours and advancement of the Armed Forces community.

The winner of this award will be chosen through a public vote.

Mark served 15 years as an Infantryman before losing the use of his right arm in a 2010 IED blast in Afghanistan.

Mark adapted his physical training and uses his motto “mind over body” to push himself and others to the limit every day.

As a trainer, Mark has worked with the British Olympic team, British Disabled team, Triathletes and Strongmen – people with and without limitations.

His methodology is to focus first on training the mind and then the body.

Leading by example, Mark competes in many events. Just a few recent achievements include finishing first in the World’s Strongest Disabled Man in both 2020 and 2021, holding the world record for both the Highland Games WFD and Highland Games Hammer, and the world record for Deadlift SC2.

This 24-hour weightlifting challenge saw Mark lifting a total of 78,150 kilos – the equivalent of three Apache helicopters! Securing the Guinness World Record for this, plus raising £2,000 for charity and promoting awareness of mental health and suicide prevention, Mark showed that no matter how low people might feel, someone is always there to lift them up.

Mark was nominated by Jacqui Nicholson, Chief Operations Officer at veterans’ sports facility Sporting Force.

She said: “Mark is such a fantastic role model for other Veterans who use the Sporting Force gym or access the Wounded Highlanders. He embodies sports recovery!

“Mark pushes himself and leads by example. Taking on both able-bodied and other disabled weightlifters, he totally embodies the philosophy of ‘adapt and overcome.’ Mark truly believes there is nothing he can’t do; he absolutely refuses to allow any limitations to stop him from achieving any goal he sets his mind to. And his goals get bigger every day!”

Three finalists are recognised to demonstrate sporting excellence:

  • Sergeant Naomi Benson
  • Sally Orange
  • Mark Tonner

Voting goes live on Monday and closes at 11.59pm on Sunday, August 14.

Vote online at

The award is sponsored by BMF Human Performance.