Endurance feat on South African adventure

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Michelle refuelling during her 76K run. Pic © Michelle Thompson

A woman has undergone a series of physically straining challenges in order to raise money for a girl who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Based in Qatar, 34-year-old Michelle Thomas completed a skydive, two bungee jumps, swam with crocodiles and ran a 76K Ultra Marathon through Addo Elephant Park in South Africa over a three day period.

Last February, 12-year-old Charlie Rimmer was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Her family and friends are now trying to raise £37,000 to send her to Germany to receive treatment that is not available in the United Kingdom.

Michelle told JMU Journalism: “I knew I had to do something out of the ordinary and push myself as much as I could so that I could get the sponsors I needed and raise awareness.”

Before her trip to South Africa Michelle had only ever completed a half-marathon.

YouTube: Brendan van Son

“The following day after the run I was numb, I had no skin on my front part of my feet and mentally I felt drained. I was supposed to do a bungee jump that day but my body was in agony. I could barely walk,” she revealed.

The Addo Elephant Trail Run pushes its challengers to the tests, with runs on a wide range of terrain including single track trails, 4×4 tracks and old jeep tracks within the park itself.

Michelle’s bungee jump, skydive and ultra marathon © Michelle Thompson

It claims to be the only national park in the world which has ‘the big seven’ – elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, southern right whale and the great white shark.

Michelle added: “I woke up the next day and headed off to do the sky dive which was amazing. After the run I had no nerves. As it was my birthday too I thought I would add in swimming with crocodiles.”

Michelle then travelled six hours to complete two bungee jumps – one wearing a Liverpool top and the other wearing an Everton top.

Overall, she raised around £3,000 alongside pledges from people at home on her GoFundMe page.

The Everton fan added: “I couldn’t travel all that way and not do something for my team.”


About Hollie Hayes, JMU Journalism