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Meet the tradesman competing in the Commonwealth Games

clock 2 weeks ago
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We caught up with scaffolder and award-winning hammer thrower Mark Dry to find out about his chances of competing at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Who are you?

Mark: My name is Mark Dry. I’m a Team GB hammer thrower double commonwealth medalist, and I’m also a scaffolder. Even though I wasn’t the jock or the amazing kid in PE at school. I’m proud to be a tradesman and represent all the tradespeople on the team.

How did you get into the Trade?

Mark: I got forced into an athletics competition, essentially, through the Air Cadets. I’d never done athletics before. They asked me what I wanted to do; I said I didn’t want to run and I didn’t want to jump. I thought throwing was going to be the easiest and require the least effort.

I represented at that competition, won unexpectedly, and it all kicked off from there.

If I make Birmingham, it will be my fourth Commonwealth Games. I made my first Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

What were some of your biggest challenges?

Mark: I missed out on the Olympics in 2012 which was heartbreaking for me. It was nearly a dealbreaker; it nearly finished my career. I finally made it to the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

In between that was this little moment of redemption where I never got to compete in front of my home crowd in London in 2012. Then, I got the opportunity to compete in Hampden, Glasgow in 2014. I was lucky enough to get bronze there, so that was an unreal experience.

After that, I had to have two hip reconstructions. I then made it back to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 and then I came away with another bronze there.

The balance is really getting impossible, especially now that I’m 34. I’m getting to the older range of the spectrum, as far as an athlete’s career goes.

Part of being a big physical bloke is that I’m good at big physical jobs. I’ve been on the tools for a while; I’m no stranger to lugging sheet materials and tubing around.

That takes its toll on your body. I’m exhausted. Trying to fit training around it is very very hard. Everyone’s got to pay the mortgage, everyone’s got to eat, everyone’s got to look after their family and I’m no different.

What’s so appealing about scaffolding?

Mark: I could not see myself being in an office or putting in a standard 9 to 5… I like being on-site.

As much as I’ve been scaffolding for a while, I’m more of a general contractor and I do bits of chippy work and I help out with this and that: roofing, flooring, all over the place. I love learning new skills and I love challenging myself.

So for me, it has been good doing a bit of multi-trade stuff and learning various trades and being on-site with different guys tripping over each other. It’s good banter, it’s nice in the summer. No one likes picking up wet frozen tubes all winter!

What are you most proud of?

Mark: After everything I’ve been through, like the hip replacement and everything else, it’s been such a mad couple of years, and such a mad journey doing it while being on the tools.

Realistically, you can’t just magic the equivalent of full-time training and being fully funded outside of work. So, for even being in with a chance of fighting for a medal I’m hugely privileged. I’m happy to be – touch wood – healthy at the minute, and at least have the opportunity to fight for it.

 

Find Mark on Instagram here.

Do you have a story you want to share with us? Get in touch and let us know.

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