The third annual Run in the Dark Cayman Islands takes place Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.

Run in the Dark started as an idea on a notepad and has grown from several hundred people running around Trinity College Dublin in Ireland in 2011, to a global event of 25,000 people.

This year, with a global target of $500,000, Run in the Dark will help to fund more global collaborations and multi-subject research trials, according to a press release.

Organizer Hannah Foreman is hoping for an even bigger attendance at this year’s event.

“In November 2013, I participated in my first ever Run in the Dark in Manchester, U.K.,” she said. “Spinal cord injury is something very close to my heart and I was super excited to find an organization solely committed to finding a cure for paralysis.

“Once I moved home in 2015, I knew I had to set up my own pop-up Run in the Dark here in Cayman. We’re now preparing for our third Run in the Dark event and having grown from 50 participants to 150 in the last two years, we’re hoping for an even bigger event this year. I’m super proud of our community for coming together and being part of something bigger; fast-tracking a cure for paralysis and spinal cord injury.”

There is no cure for paralysis, or any meaningful therapies for people with spinal cord injury. The Mark Pollock Trust aims to change this reality by finding and connecting people around the world to develop a cure for paralysis. The Mark Pollock Trust’s main fundraiser – the Run in the Dark – plays a vital part in funding this mission.

Some runners brought along their pets to take part in last year’s Run in the Dark.

Run in the Dark participants can run or walk 5km or run 10km, joining runners from six continents, from Sydney to San Francisco.

Mark Pollock Trust

The Mark Pollock Trust has reached a number of key milestones in the last five years: In creating global collaborations, the Mark Pollock Trust facilitated an ongoing transatlantic research collaboration between Trinity College Dublin and UCLA, and the formation of a $4 million venture philanthropy fund with a Silicon Valley venture capital firm  and a U.S. philanthropic foundation.

In the area of scientific research, Pollock became the world’s leading test pilot in Ekso Bionics robotics legs, and the first person in the world with chronic complete paralysis to regain enough voluntary control to actively take steps in a robotic exoskeleton.

The Mark Pollock Trust is providing funding for upcoming multi-subject trials to replicate research carried out on Pollock. This will make Ireland the leading center in the world for this type of research.

Commenting on its mission, Pollock said in the release, “We are exploring the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery by bringing scientists, robotics engineers, medics and foundations and financiers together to work in ways they never have before. We are scaling those collaborations by providing an outsourced business service to help them to access research funding, project manage collaborative teams and market their results. And we are connecting scientists and their funding foundations with business expertise and capital to commercialize research discoveries.”

About Mark Pollock

Pollock became blind at the age of 22. In 1998, he competed in ultra endurance races across deserts, mountains, and polar ice caps, becoming the first blind person to race to the South Pole.

He also won silver and bronze medals for rowing at the Commonwealth Games and set up a motivational speaking business.

In 2010, he was left paralyzed after falling from a second story window. He now explores the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery, combining an innovative electrical stimulator over his spinal cord and a drug super-charging his nervous system, whilst walking hundreds of thousands of steps in his Ekso Bionics robotic legs.

Through the Mark Pollock Trust (www.markpollocktrust.org), he aims to find and connect people globally to fast-track a cure for paralysis.

To sign up for the run, go to www.runinthedark.org/cayman-islands.

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