Magheramorne man Thomas takes on gruelling ultramarathon in aid of The Big C Foundation
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The Foundation was inspired by the Larne youngster, who passed away last year aged just three after being diagnosed with a brain tumour as a baby.
It supports organisations across Northern Ireland that specialise in helping children through their cancer treatments.
Race Across Scotland saw participants challenged to complete the unique coast to coast ultra-marathon, which follows the scenic Southern Upland Way.
Already an experienced runner with Larne AC, Translink SHE Manager Thomas has previously taken on a number of mountain and trail ultra-marathons, as well as the 107-mile Dublin to Belfast Ultra and 24 hour runs. “My biggest challenge and longest run to date was competing in a Last One Standing Event in 2022, achieving 37 hours, covering 155.4 miles,” he added.
“On my bucket list next was a single stage 200 mile plus ultra-marathon, and over the last few years of following the Race Across Scotland, my burning ambition got the better of me.”
The race kicked off at Portpatrick harbour at 6am on Saturday, August 12, with an international contingent of runners from 20 countries.
Participants had 100 hours to complete the route, with Thomas crossing the finish line in Cockburnpath on Tuesday, August 15 at 4:34pm.
"I managed about an hour and a half’s sleep during the race; my strategy is to keep going for as long as possible, but I had to have two 45 minute naps in that time as the hallucinations had started to set in!” the local man said.
Battling blistered feet and sore knees, he also had to contend with rain, wind and fog, as well as an extra five miles on the course due to a diversion.
Thomas persevered to achieve an astonishing time of 82 hours, 34 minutes and 29 seconds, securing 22nd place in the event.
Helping motivate Thomas to take on the mammoth physical feat were members of his own family. “[I’ve] watched in amazement my sister living with cerebral palsy and alopecia on a daily basis and the challenges she faces,” said Thomas.
"She is my inspiration to drive myself to beyond my limits and she has proven that nothing can stop you as she has completed parkruns, 5km races and is a regular in her local gym.”
Little Callum was also a key driving force behind the challenge. “[His illness] highlighted the need for support for any families who are going through something similar; there might be delays or extra costs getting equipment like wheelchairs, or a lot of money being spent on fuel going up and down to hospital,” Thomas added.
Thanks to online donations via JustGiving, Thomas has already raised almost £3000 for The Big C Foundation.
"I wanted to give something back in Callum’s memory, so if raising money for the Foundation helps take the pressure off parents and gives them one less thing to worry about, then it’s all worth it,” he said.