Mark Mills, ELEMENTS THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE franchise owner; Boulder, Colo.
It took a life-threatening accident, a broken back and the fear of paralysis for Mark Mills to discover what it really means to be fit and healthy.
It wasn't until he was struck by a car when training for the Boston marathon that this peak athlete who had been running all of his life found the upside of being stuck in a bed.
The doctors said he would never run again. But that diagnosis didn't suit Mills. Instead he sought out someone who would give him the outlook he was looking for – full rehabilitation. Six months of daily massage therapy sessions turned out to be the answer. Mills was not only able to run, but became an avid ultramarathoner.
His remarkable recovery led Mills to discover his true passion – sharing the healing power of massage therapy. Mills opened his own massage therapy practice in New Hampshire and for almost 20 years was booked solid, even turning clients away. However, what seemed like a success left Mills working so hard in his business that he had little time for a life outside of work. He was overbooked, overworked and exhausted.
Inspiration from his wife Kate led Mills to consider relocating to Colorado and opening a new business in Boulder. And this time he opened a franchised massage therapy studio, seeking support from an established franchisor instead of his previous one-man-show. In April 2009, Mills and his wife opened an elements therapeutic massage franchise, part of the Highlands Ranch-based company that supports 77 studios across 21 states.
Since opening the elements studio, Mills enjoys a more balanced life and recently completed the San Juan Solstice, a 50-mile ultramarathon in Lake City, Colo. Now he can spend more time with his wife and kids, continue distance running and training all while pursuing his passion of championing the true healing power of massage therapy. Mills works full-time as an injury massage therapist alongside seven other certified therapists on staff at elements. The studio also boasts one of the few Boulder massage therapy locations that offer a dedicated space for couples massages as well.
At 55, Mills has completed 10 100-mile ultramarathons, fifty 50-mile ultramarathons and 106 marathons with no end in sight.
From being told he may no longer run again to running a business and winning his life back, Mills has gone the true distance.