A county standard swimmer as a teenager, Marc had his left leg amputated because of cancer when he was 17. His dream became to simply be the best that he could be and just 18 months after he finished his chemotherapy he was selected to represent Great Britain.

Marc competed internationally as a swimmer for 17 years; winning 12 Paralympic medals from 5 Games and a further 21 from World and European Championships. In the past he has held world records for 200m, 400m, 1500m Freestyle, as well as being part of the team that held the world record for 4 x 100m Freestyle. Since retiring from swimming in 2004 he has worked for both the BBC and CH4 at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, London and Rio.

Marc co-founded the Leadership Advisory business, Equiida, and now spends his time working with organisations around the world as an executive coach and speaker. He focuses this work around developing personal awareness, taking responsibility, leadership effectiveness, teamwork and inclusion.

Marc believes passionately in the power of sport and physical activity. He now Chairs the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity. As the professional development body for the UK’s sport and physical activity sector, CIMSPA is committed to supporting, developing and enabling professionals and organisations to succeed, inspiring the nation to become more active, and creating a vibrant, UK-wide sport and physical activity sector, with the highest standards of service delivery.

When Marc retired from international swimming he embarked on a series of new challenges, including trekking in Nepal, Ecuador and Peru (the Inca Trail) and developing his mountaineering skills.

To date, he has climbed the world’s highest volcano, Cotopaxi in Ecuador, Mont Pelvoux, part of the Massif des Ecrins in France and the 22,200ft Mera Peak in Nepal.

“Whether you succeed or fail to achieve specific goals you have to replace them. Turning my attention to mountaineering after I retired from swimming refocused my energy. In doing this I came to realise that focusing on achieving my potential was both more sustainable and rewarding then obsessing on specific outcomes like winning a Gold medal or summiting a peak.”

  • “Marc is one of the most inspirational speakers I have ever heard and his story is one of great courage, determination and compassion.”

  • “Marc Woods' personal story of achievement in the face of adversity is hugely inspiring.”

  • “Marc’s story is one where adversity spurred him on to reach his personal best and achieve more than most people could dream of.”