Kickboxer completes marathon pulling a plane
A kickboxing champion has completed a marathon while pulling a 1.25-tonne aeroplane to raise cash for children with an incurable illness.
Carl Thomas, 35, from Stockport, started dragging the Cessna up and down the airfield at Elvington, near York, on Wednesday evening, reaching a top speed of around 2mph.
He is trying to raise £250,000 for Ollie’s Army, a charity that supports a family who have two children with Batten’s disease.
Mike Carroll, whose children Ollie and Amelia have the condition, said it was unbelievable to watch Mr Thomas complete the marathon on Thursday.
The father-of-five told the PA news agency that it had been quite emotional to see Mr Thomas push himself to the absolute limit for children with the disease.
He added: “It was unbelievable to watch but also quite hard to watch because we were watching a man push himself to the absolute limit.
“It was very touching, near the end I felt quite emotional, to be honest.
“To think someone has pushed their body to the limit for my children, not just my children but all the children with Batten’s disease.”
Batten disease is an incurable illness which affects the nervous system, causing seizures, visual impairment, mobility loss and early death.
There is currently no cure or life-extending treatments for the disease, only symptom relief and supportive care.
Ollie, nine, was diagnosed with the condition in 2015 and his sister Amelia, now seven, was diagnosed a month later.
Mr Thomas’s fundraising page said he is trying to raise the £250,000 needed to fund an enzyme therapy trial which aims to prevent Amelia and other children with the disease losing their eyesight.
Mr Thomas had hoped to use a lighter plane, but that became unavailable so he had to use a 1,250kg Cessna, completing two-mile loops of the airfield without any assistance at the turns.
Before the attempt, Mr Thomas said: “You cannot really train for this, but I have been pulling my car up and down in an empty car park.
“I’ve got to do it in 24 hours so I cannot take a break, I’ll not be sleeping so I will be pretty rough.”
He said: “I’ll have a crazy level of exhaustion, but I’ve got a good support team and they will keep me going.”
Mr Thomas is undertaking 10 charity challenges and hopes to raise £1 million over 10 years.
He has previously run 10 marathons in 10 days and cycled 1,500 miles in 10 days.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/carl-thomas