In 1946 Mike's mother and father, Charles and Mary Parsons, started making cycle panniers in the upstairs of their shop in Rossendale. Karrimor International Ltd was the result and from 1960 Mike led the company to being a worldwide brand. As Managing Director he created some of the outdoor industry's iconic products. The Alpiniste, KSB, Hot Ice, Karrimat, Jaguar to name but a few. In 1996, with 320 employees and a turnover of £20m, Mike moved on taking his passion for the sport of mountain marathons with him and the originating event, the KIMM. This was soon to become known as the Original Mountain Marathon or OMM.
Not only in the outdoor industry but also in education, Mike's innovative approach is renowned and set to continue. He is an Honorary Fellow at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development at Lancaster University Management School.
“2009 has been an interesting year for me. “says Mike. “With the involvement of the Ark team I have been able to get out into the mountains much more and spend more time pursuing my academic interests in innovation at Lancaster University. My future plans include, with my colleague Professor Mary Rose, “Innov_ex 10” to be held on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 and the continued development of our innovation courses for undergraduates, postgraduates and business. ( www.innovation-for-extremes.org)
As I step away from OMM Ltd I wish the Ark team every success.”
Tom Williams, MD of the Ark Group says “The outdoor industry would not be where it is today without the influence of people like Mike Parsons, a true pioneer. We aim to build on Mike's legacy and ensure that the OMM remains an outlet for the enduring spirit and innovation. Jen Longbottom, Mike's sister, will continue as organiser for the Original Mountain Marathon”