Sunday, November 8, 2015


Oh Boy! Somehow its been a year and a half since my last post! I promise I have jumped on here a dozen different times with every intent of writing a new entry and updating this page but the further behind I fell the larger the task seemed. But! I am going to do my best attempt at an update of the past 18 months in 1 short paragraph.  

(Takes a deep breath)... 

June '14 I finished 2nd at USA Nationals with 5.70m 18'8" Went to Europe and jumped a PB 5.76m 18'11" in Austria then 5.80m 19' IN Belgium 2 days later and finally 5.83m 19'2" a few weeks later in Germany! Finished the season in Morocco finishing in 3rd place at the Continental Cup. 5.83m was the 2nd highest jump in the world for the year and ended up ranked #1 Pole Vaulter in the USA and 7th in the World! 

 Had surgery on foot in October 2014, tried to come back to competition too quickly and while my body was ready my mind was not able to catch up with all the new stresses I was putting on it. I attempted to run from 20 steps compared to my normal 18 for the indoor season and the start of outdoor. I was afraid of poles, afraid of pole vaulting. I could talk for hours about this but I will have to do a follow up blog dedicated to this soon. 

 Started to get things back together in May and June but not in time for Nationals. I ended up in 5th place with a season best of 5.50m 18' missing the qualifying for the World Championships in Beijing, but i had the privilege of representing the USA at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.  I was blessed to finish with the bronze along with my teammate Jacob Blankenship!  Had an adventure competing in Mexico with some of the best friends a guy could ask for and jumped 5.60m 18'4 to win the 2nd meet in Vera Cruz. Went to Europe at the end of the year finally jumping with some confidence on bigger poles, jumped 5.55m 18'2 in Germany but ended the year happy with where I was and what the future could hold.


 OK I know its not fair to only give you that short summary but this past year and a half has been the highest and the lowest I have ever been in my pole vault career and life. The real work was what was being done on the inside.  The Lord stripped me down, took away the identity I had in pole vault to finally see for myself that pv is not who I am. I am a child of God, He loved me so much that he sent his Son to die in my place so we could be together someday! This identity is eternal, it can not be taken away or changed,how awesome is that?!?! 

 2015 Training is going great! We've got a great crew of 8 vaulters here in Knoxville led by the one and only Tim Mack and we have been busting our butts for about 6 weeks now. We've had a beautiful fall here in eastern Tennessee and we have still been able to jump outside. We moved back to 10 steps last week and Tim and I are very happy with where we are so far.  

Heres one of my better jumps from Thursday the 5th. Pole is 4.90m 16' 195lb 15.0 grip is about 4.75m 15'6" bungee at 5.20m 17'  Excited to see a lot of improvement already and excited to keep it going on longer runs and bigger poles! 

Ok one last thing for now!  Ive partnered with Mike McCarthy, (@McCarthysan on Twitter) the best  photographer in pole vault, to put together a 2016 Mark Hollis calendar for ya'll!  These can make some awesome Christmas gifts and each can be personalized with my autograph and note!  The funds raised from the calendars are meant to supplement my training needs especially in the fall between competitions.  Im asking for a $30 donation for the calendars, you can see more of the calendars and order at my website

Always Pursuing -Mark-

Thursday, May 15, 2014


So many times Ill jump on here and have no idea what I'm going to write, just knowing its about that time to post something.  I probably should have plenty to write about, I'm jumping better than I ever have, Ive jumped 5.60m 18'4" or higher in my last 6 of 7 meets, which is higher than I jumped all of last year!  In my last meet I jumped 5.71m 18'9" which is the highest Ive jumped since 2010 and the last time I jumped this high this early was 2008 when I jumped 5.75m 18'10" around the same time of the year.  So whats different?  Whats the secret?  What are you guys doing down there in Knoxville that's making such a difference? 

 These are questions Ive asked myself as well, because I'm doing basically the same workouts Ive always done, I'm jumping the same volume, jumping on the same size poles, but evidently something is different. Could it be the difference is not only having direction every day but more importantly believing in that direction?  In the past Ive been quick to move on to something else because I wasn't seeing results in the time frame I wanted to see them.  When I moved to Knoxville to work with Tim Mack I put aside everything I thought I knew about the vault, because if this was going to work I needed to trust my coach completely.  There were times I wanted to argue that my way was better, but then I realized I would be telling Tim Mack I thought I was smarter than him!  Isn't that what we do when we argue with a coach or do a workout differently than they have instructed?  Aren't we saying thanks for your help but I'm smarter than you are?  Tim, like all coaches, has more experience and knowledge than the athletes they coach .  Even though some things were different than what I had learned, I chose to believe the path we're taking was better than what I had done in the past.  

For most of the athletes reading this post this is the most important time of your year.  Conference, Regionals, Sectionals, State and Nationals are either coming up or happening now.  Now is the time when all of the work you've done pays off!  This is the time to do everything you've been working on the best you can, not to all of a sudden try something new because its a big meet!  Trust your training, your coach, your poles and jump your best!  

As for me my season is still just beginning, I'm improving daily, my practices are better and better and I'm excited for what this season is going to hold.  I'm going to Beijing, China on Sunday for a meet next Wednesday, I jumped there last year and I'm pumped to go back and jump high!  I believe a PR is in my near future, and its about time!  

Believe in what your doing, belief builds confidence and confidence makes the impossible possible.  

Always Pursuing -Mark-