A father and son from Preston took on soaring temperatures to complete a 24-hour ultra marathon for Rosemere Cancer Foundation.Advertisement
Mike and Dean Thompson ran the Mizuno 24 North Ultra Marathon at the end of June, and are set to raise £1,000 for their efforts.
While most competitors took part in relay teams, the duo ran solo to repeatedly complete a five-mile woodland loop through Bramham Park in Leeds. Electronic ankle tags showed that Mike covered 55 miles and Dean did 95 miles over the course of the 24 hours.
Mike said: “It was brutal. It wasn’t just the 31 degrees heat that took its toll but the high humidity. It was a stuffiness that zapped your energy.
“I saw a lot of runners having to have medical attention and race numbers were down on those anticipated as I think a number of competitors had seen the weather forecast and decided to pull out.
“We ran five mile laps described as a woodland course but only about 40 per cent of it was through woods, which offered some shade. The rest was out in the open in the full glare of the sun. At least during the night, the sun had gone down but the temperature and humidity remained high.”
Mike, a retired Asda retail assistant, and Dean, a serving Police Community Support Officer, are no strangers to extreme physical challenges. They have climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro and Argentina’s Aconcagua, and run the Gobi and Atacama Deserts.
Nearer to home, Mike and Dean have run the 127-mile length of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal non-stop, and undertaken 16-hour rowathons in the foyer of Asda’s Clayton Green store.
Mike, who uses all of his events to raise money for Rosemere, will tackle the world’s highest marathon, the Everest Marathon, next year. The challenge involves a 14-day trek to Mount Everest’s base camp where the race begins. While there, he’ll celebrate his 68th birthday.
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Mike said: “There’s a lot of psychology in events like this. You have highs and lows. When I hit a low, I just remind myself how lucky I am to be able to be running, especially with my son. It’s a real privilege. I remember why I am doing it – to help people who have cancer – and that gets me back on track.
“Dean and I are nothing special. Life is about adventures and making memories. When I retired, people asked me if I’d be taking things easier but there’s no way I’m hanging up my running shoes yet. Retirement means I have more time for training for events that will help those who have a proper challenge going on – in some cases, a fight for their lives.”
Find out more about Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s work to bring world class cancer treatments and services to cancer patients from throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria on the Rosemere website.
Donate to Mike’s fundraising for Rosemere Cancer Foundation via his Just Giving page.
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What do you think of Mike and Dean’s achievements? Let us know in the comments below.