Who is Mark Ingle?
My name is Mark Ingle. I walk to the beat of my own drum. My journey with cancer shaped me. I founded trainArizona Racing in June of 2017. It’s an endurance racing team located in Scottsdale, Arizona. I coach because I feel I’m the best in this city which means I can help others. I train 35+ athletes including, trail runners, road marathoners, OCR athletes, Ironman, and ultra runners.
My endeavor is about impact. I help people achieve goals because I can; but, my eyes are directed at SUBSTANTIALLY impacting youth and charitable causes. I don’t charge my athletes. This isn’t about money for me. trainArizona Racing is about educating and inspiring. It’s a platform to positively impact my local community. I have the luxury to train from Rebound West Gymnastics that is owned by Tiffany VanDusen.
Where I’ve been
In 2005, I was diagnosed with Stage-4 cancer at the age of 22. My fight was intense. It unearthed this relentless attitude that was tucked away inside a fun loving college kid. I endured 4 months of 8-hour-days of chemotherapy, administered 252 bags of chemo drugs, and underwent a retroperitoneal surgery to remove lymph nodes from my chest cavity. This surgery involved an incision from my sternum down around my belly button. On February 1, 2006, I was cancer free.
I endured mysterious knee and hip pain throughout this time. “Pain” as a descriptor fails to properly describe the throbbing nature of my ailment. Medical professionals chalked it up to a side effect of chemotherapy. Pain became a part of my life.
In 2014, my team of doctors at my local Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona discovered the source of my knee and hip pain. I suffered from a bone condition called avascular necrosis, or "bone death." Because bone is living tissue that requires blood, an interruption to the blood supply causes bone to die. Each of my legs contain the following areas of dead bone: hip socket, femur head (ball), lower femur (thigh bone), and upper tibia (shin bone). My chemo regimen caused this condition because it cut off blood supply to these locations.
This caused my pain. It sounds so foreign. It rings fictitious. Trust me, I get it because that was my reaction too; however, it is as real as the air we breathe.
Cancer reappeared from the ashes and set boundaries for me to operate within
My hips and knees were given a shelf life of 5 to 8 years. I was instructed by my team of doctors to avoid all impact, including simple exercises like jogging. My best case scenario was “bone collapse” at the age of 40. I had to quit any exercise that loaded my joints. Triathlon was vehemently forbidden. I complied. I lived my life SCARED for the next 4 months.
My triumph over cancer had given me a permanent sense of pride. Chemo took my appetite, hair, graduation date, immune system, and made me continually nauseous. Like all patients, the kicker was that I had to make the trek back to the scene of the crime to be administered 3 bags of chemo for over 8 hours a day. It was a fight. The arena was a cancer ward.
However, a large sense of my pride was washed away after I received the news of my avascular necrosis. It felt like cancer got one over on me from its grave. It was as if cancer reappeared from the ashes and set boundaries for me to operate within for the remainder of my adult life. It infringed on my goals, including becoming an Ironman.
One spring day, I was at a Scottsdale, Arizona gym. I sat idle on a white exercise machine like hobbled prey. I rubbed my knees, thought to myself, and burst out, LET'S GO. At that moment I decided to conquer my limitations and achieve my ultimate goal of Ironman 140.6. I become the hunter.
None of the existing training methods were an option because each involved running - and a lot of it.
I am well educated. I possess three professional degrees. With my bones as a backdrop, I quickly learned running increases forces on femoral heads by 5 times body weight. Since mine are hollow, I knew I could NEVER run in training. Never run? Skeptics laughed at me. I decided to NEVER bike more than 7 times. Again, folks scoffed. The question became how?
I read scholarly articles and medical studies about my condition. I aimed to completely eliminate the threat of muscle strains, fasciitis, bursitis, muscle tears, tendon ruptures, joint sprains, ligament tears, and most notably - bone fractures. I focused on musculoskeletal responses to physical training. I read about the risk factors associated with physical training injuries. Then, I created a training plan that’s unique for my body.
I never ran a single step in training and biked 7 total times.
I NEVER RAN a single step in training and BIKED 7 TOTAL TIMES. I put my program to the test at Ironman Arizona 70.3 on October 18, 2015. I ran across the finish line. I completed the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run. I swam nonstop. I biked nonstop. And, I RAN the entire 13.1 miles nonstop. I pounded my chest twice out of pride in the finisher’s circle.
Around October 28, 2015, I signed up for Ironman Vineman 140.6 in Sonoma, California. I carried out my training program from January 2016 to July 2016. My doctors said my body would fail me. Others scoffed because like last time, I never ran a step in training. I road my tri bike 7 times in the distances of 25, 30, 40, 49, 50, 55, and 70 miles. I built my body like an artist.
I represented cancer survivors, chemo patients, and those who have been dealt a bad hand. I wasn’t there to finish, but to race it.
On July 30, 2016, I stood confidently at the Ironman starting line. I added 8 pounds of muscle. I was strong. My hips rotated with ease. My body was flexible and moved freely. My supporting muscles were ready to act as shock absorbers and stabilizers for my “defective” body parts. I unlocked athleticism that was said to be inaccessible.
This race was not about me anymore. I represented cancer survivors, chemo patients, and those who have been dealt a bad hand. I wasn’t there to just finish, but to race it. After I was done, I knew I would be equipped to positively impact this world. A quality finish meant I had re-written endurance programs to train in a safer manner. I could inspire and educate the youth around the country and allow them to avoid injury and race later in their adult life.
BEFORE the sun set in California, I rounded the final turn. I beat darkness. I did so in full stride while being propelled by my hollowed out knees and hips. I ran across the finish line. I hunched over, massaged my knees and hips out of pure respect, stood up, and slapped my chest out of pride. Don’t ever doubt me, I said loudly. I outsmarted and outworked my deficiencies just as I said I would do. In the end, I completed the 2.5 mile swim, 113 mile bike ride, and RAN the 26.2 while breathing easy and without pain.
On that day, I took back what was mine - my pride over cancer.
Where I am today
trainArizona Racing is about educating and inspiring.
I care. It's who I am. My will is a wrecking ball of force that is fueled by a desire for positive impact that is aimed directly at building something great in my community. trainArizona Racing is about educating and inspiring.
“What’s in it for you, Mark?” is the question I’m always asked. Everyone assumes there is a “catch” or a “hook.” No catch. No hook. The answer is: I simply desire to help others because I can. God provided me with an incredible journey, instilled me with a relentlessness attitude, and provided me the ability to effectively connect with others.
I started from a blank Instagram account, @trainArizona, my team went live on 6/1/2017, and I've been on numerous media outlets and now sponsored.
I started 6/1/2017 from a blank Instagram account, called @trainArizona. 6 months later I’ve been:
- Featured on Channel 12 NBC News. (News anchor asked to drop baby weight, so I help her)
- Featured on Scottsdale.com.
- Featured in Arizona Attorney Magazine.
- Sponsored by RDX Sports
- Sponsored by TYR Sports
I have helped 60+ athletes. I help with any goal. I built my body from the ground up. Everyone starts from somewhere. Fitness is a process. I made it an art. The benefits from athletic achievements stretch well beyond the athlete. The effects are felt by family, friends, and even strangers. Life is a journey. I’m excited to be a part of each of my athletes’ story. That’s all I seek. trainArizona Racing represents so much more than racing to me. And, now you understand why.