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Luke Atkins

Corporate, Inspirational Speaker, Online - Virtual Visits, Speaking Out

Luke Atkins is an ultra-endurance runner and personal safety expert. Luke has represented Australia in both taekwondo and endurance running competing all over the world from Mongolia to the USA.

Luke seamlessly draws the link between the mental toughness required to run for more than 24 hours non-stop and the daily grind. His concept that life is an endurance race has proven to be especially valuable for VCE students and corporate groups.

As a sponsored athlete in the Under Armour Australia team in Worlds Toughest Mudder and the General Manager of Hall’s Taekwondo his ideas on leadership and team work are invaluable.

As a martial arts instructor for over 15 years Luke has developed structured personal safety sessions for schools and corporate audiences.

Where were you born?

Melbourne, Australia.

What other jobs have you had?

I don’t consider myself to have ever had a ‘job’. I have made it my mission to do what I love and make a living from it. One of my core values is to make an impact on the world, so I have chosen things that I enjoy and that I believe help people. In addition to spending my days as the General Manager of Hall’s Taekwondo (where I started as a student when I was six years old), I develop and deliver personal safety seminars and inspire and teach others the lessons that I have learned during my experiences racing in some of the toughest and most inhospitable places in the world.

What themes are recurring in your work?

This really depends on what the group is after but as an example of my motivational/inspirational talks to date.

The major theme of my work is “life is the ultimate endurance race”. I believe the qualities needed to finish one of these races are the same qualities that allow us to keep persevering and ultimately achieve our best life. I have learned the value of these qualities in the physical arena and translate them for use in everyday life so that anyone can use these values and principles to reach their own goals including for example in their studies, fitness goals or career.

Recurring themes include:

  • Resilience + Determination= Grit: Through the hardship of running I have learnt how to build and teach the art of toughness.
  • Commitment: Learn to create parameters to ensure you totally commit and see a task through to the end.
  • Don’t fear failure, fear regret: The magnitude of our success is proportional to the magnitude of possible failure. The consequences of a lifetime of regret are far greater than the feeling of short-term failure.

What have been the highlights of your career?

I believe in being a well-rounded person. I have always done my best to reach my full potential as an athlete and as an academic. Some of my athletic highlights include:

  • 3x World’s Toughest Mudder finisher, placing 14th,14th and 6th out of over 1000 competitors.
  • Gobi Desert Race Mongolia 19th place
  • 2nd Junior World Championship Selections
  • 2nd National 24-hour obstacle endurance championship
  • Surf Coast Century 100km 10th in age
  • Various Ultra marathon and marathon finishes
  • 6 Dan Black belt in Taekwondo

Academic highlights include:

  • Bachelor of Science majoring in Biochemistry and Pathology, University of Melbourne;
  • Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education, Victoria University;
  • Certificate 2,4 and Diploma in Sports Coaching;
  • Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness;
  • Certificate in Preventing Violence Against Women, Vic Health

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about so many things, but helping people to live a life that they can be proud of helps me to live a life I can be proud of. Helping people to find the courage that it takes to put fear aside and take a chance at growth.

I’m really passionate about peoples’ safety, particularly domestic violence.

Haven’t I seen you before?

  • Personal Safety expert and assistant trainer on TIFFXO with Tiffiny Hall
  • As a young man I was part of the Hall’s Taekwondo team which made it to the finals of Australia’s Got Talent
  • WB kids and Channel 7’s Sunrise for the Under Armour team


It was an absolute pleasure having Luke speak today at our whole school assembly at SBC, correlating his talk around R U OK Day with Wellbeing Week. His presentation was engaging, as students from Year 7 through to Year 12 could relate different aspects to their lives and learning.

—A. Iaria, St Bernard's College, October 2021

Students said they were very inspired by Luke! Below are some of their comments

  • He set up his story really well, none of the crowd would have known anything about his story from the start of his presentation and props.
  • He seemed very down to earth, but aimed high in life.
  • The sound was good throughout the presentation and I think there was a good mix between the PowerPoint and face to face.
  • Yes I found it helpful and I rate him 20/20 he did such a good job and he was very helpful
  • When you’re about to give up you can think of his story and be inspired
  • “Never give up early because you don’t know how close you are” – Liam M. in response to the question, ‘what could you do next with the life and learning experiences that Luke passed on to you
  • What he said was important because it shows that when you try your best then you can accomplish anything if you continue to try. It was also important to always try your best and fight through the negative I can’t do it thoughts
  • I think it was great because it is something we don’t normally hear from people. It was something different

The feedback that we got from the students at Mount Clear College on Luke’s presentation was amazing…… He had taken the time to make sure that all aspects of the presentation were ready to go prior to the day as well as having some props in the background such as books that have influenced him to enhance the story. Students knew nothing about Luke prior which allowed for Luke to build up his story and really hammer home the ideas of making choices in life, working hard, not giving up and always being prepared to learn new things.

—S. Hamm, Mount Clear College, June 2020

Feedback from students:

  • I really found the Luke Atkins talk beneficial
  • It was very inspirational
  • It was absolutely amazing
  • Luke Atkins speech was practical, inspirational and beneficial
  • Fantastic speech that really put a lot of things into perspective, incredibly motivational and mindset changing.
  • His speech was very empowering and relevant to the year ahead.

This is just a sample of the feedback/comments from our Year 12 students after Luke spoke at our Year 12 camp last week.

This is the fourth time Luke has spoken at our Year 12 camp and we love having him to be our keynote and opening speaker each year.

His message is perfectly tailored to our student cohort and never fails to strike a chord with the students.

I am always impressed by his willingness to talk with students after his presentation and his organisation and punctuality is also of note (some speakers are tardy in regards to this aspect but not Luke).

I look forward to a long and continuing relationship between Luke and John Monash Science School.

—M. Anderson, John Monash Science School, February 2020

Luke was extremely inspirational and our students were very taken with his motivational ideas, particularly his take on Year 12 as being the academic equivalent of his Tough Mudder experiences.  Luke made a strong and successful effort to connect with both the males and females in his audience, which made the entire group appreciate his messages all the more.  He was engaging, honest, uplifting and definitely made his audience want to leap out of their chairs and make a positive start toward their own finish lines.

—J. Hahn, Gippsland Grammar

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