Chris Thrall was born in South-East London. Aged eighteen, he joined the Royal Marines Commandos. Following active service in the Northern Ireland Conflict and training in Arctic warfare and survival, he earned his parachutist’s ‘wings’ and operated as part of a high-security detachment on board an aircraft carrier.
In 1995, Chris moved to Hong Kong to oversee the Asia-Pacific expansion of a million-dollar marketing operation he’d built part-time while serving in the forces. Six months later, he was homeless, in psychosis from crystal meth addiction and working as a nightclub doorman for the 14K, Hong Kong’s most ruthless triad brotherhood.
In 2011, Chris wrote the internationally bestselling memoir Eating Smoke, a frank, disturbing yet often hilarious account of his experience. He has spoken on numerous podcasts, radio and television programs and has co-produced two award-wining radio plays on his life and memoir. Forty Nights, Chris’s 2019 follow-up, details how he used chronic addiction as a springboard to achieve all of his life’s goals.
A qualified pilot and skydiver, snowboarder and ultra-runner, Chris has travelled across eighty countries on seven continents, including backpacking through all of North, Central and South America. He has run a sub-four London Marathon and completed an Olympic triathlon. In 2018, with zero training for three years following spinal surgery, he ran an ultra-marathon every day for 37 days, 999 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End, solo, unsupported and carrying 14kgs of camping equipment, to raise awareness of veterans’ suicide and £18,000 for the Baton charity.
In 1999, Chris firewalked 120 metres over red-hot coals to raise money to work with street children in post-war Mozambique. He has driven aid workers from Norway to India and back on a 1978 British Leyland bus, dived off the cliff in Acapulco, fished for piranhas in the Amazon, scuba-dived with bull sharks in Belize and leopard seals and icebergs while exploring the Antarctic Polar Circle.
For his humanitarian approach to life, Chris was awarded the Second Level Commendation of the Finnish Nation on the grounds of human generosity. He has a degree in youth and community work, is a substance-misuse and addiction specialist and a life-changing speaker. He currently lives in Plymouth, England, where he still intends to become an astronaut, a dolphin trainer or the Milky Bar Kid.
For motivational/informative speaking, podcasts and interviews, or if you would like addiction advice, life-coaching or writing mentoring, please send an email.