This Leyland grandad shows no signs of stopping as he is preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for his 68th birthday
Mike Thompson has just completed a 24-hour ultra marathon, has raced through the Gobi Desert and is looking forward to spend his 68th birthday climbing Kilimanjaro - a feat he has already completed nine years ago.
The 67-year-old from Leyland insists that whilst it may be tough and he gets tired, he knows he can ‘get on with it’ and that his body can take it.
The grandfather-of-four is so committed to his philosophy, that whilst he and his son Dean ran the Gobi Desert in 2016, they both took part in a study being undertaken by medics at Cambridge University investigating extremes on the body, such as heat, exercise and sleep deprivation.
Mike says: “Researchers did tests on everyone before the race, looking at height, weight and blood tests and then again at the end.“They found we had shrunk as our body mass had compressed a bit. We had lost a bit of weight which was natural because we were in the desert and exerting ourselves and we had different readings in our blood.“It made us realise how resilient the human body is. We both volunteered because it was interesting to see what goes in with the body.“The researches will use their findings to see the effect of extreme conditions on combat soldiers.”
And whilst he is doing it for fun, he is also doing it to raise money for charity - namely Rosemere Cancer Foundation, as the centre successfully treated his dad Cyril more than nine years ago.
Since 2010, Mike and his son, Dean, 34, have completed many extreme physical events for Rosemere.Their first challenge was hiking up Kilimanjaro, and this was followed up by taking on Argentina’s Aconcagua.
They ran the Gobi and Atacama Deserts, and nearer to home, Mike and Dean have run the 127-mile length of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and undertaken 16-hour row-a-thons in the foyer of Asda’s Clayton Green store.Last year, Mike ran the 62 miles from London to Brighton.
He adds: “When entering these things it is all about mental strength. I am thinking about people who are going through cancer and tap into that.“As far as I’m concerned the fact we are pushing ourselves is a good thing as we are doing it for charity. We are helping someone.
“We have been supporting Rosemere for nine years. The patients treated there are fighting for their lives. I may have a few problems in a race, but so what? There is no comparison.“I am so grateful I am still able to do these things. I have no intention of hanging up my shoes.“People think that now I am retired, I should relax. But I still do ordinary things like walking the dog and listening to music. But I have always been active.”
Mike’s most recent challenge was the Mizuno 24 North Ultra Marathon with Dean on one of the hottest days of the year.The father-of-four ran 55 miles and Dean completed 95, raising £1,000 for Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
He says: “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.
“We have managed to raise around £1,000. There was a Gin and Corona Garden Party at The Walton Fox in Bamber Bridge, with a raffle, which raised around £300; my wife’s church has been collecting money and Asda in Clayton Green has been raising cash too.”
Mike, a retired Asda retail assistant, is now preparing himself for his trek up Kilimanjaro next May.He has been training at Sportesse, in Chorley, which has an altitude chamber.
He adds: “I do a spinning class which is quite intense and simulates being at high altitude. I know how quickly it can affect you so I am training to be the best I can be.”
To sponsor Mike and Dean following the Mizuno 24 North Ultra Marathon visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michael-thompson47.