A local kickboxing champion has successfully completed a marathon whilst pulling a 1.25 tonne airplane all to raise money for charity.
Carl Thomas, 35 and hailing from Stockport, began the marathon dragging the Cessna Aircraft up and down the airfield at Elvington, near York, on Wednesday evening and managed to reach a top speed of around 2mph.
All funds raised from the challenge will go to Ollie’s Army Battling Against Battens.
Carl has set the target of raising a total of £250,000 to help fund a clinical trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital to prevent the loss of vision in children with CNL2 Batten Disease. Batten disease is an incurable illness which affects the nervous system, causing seizures, visual impairment, mobility loss and early death, and there is currently no cure or life-extending treatments for the disease.
Only symptom relief and supportive care is available at present.
Mike Carroll – whose children Ollie and Amelia both have the condition – said it was unbelievable to watch Mr Thomas complete the marathon on Thursday and added that it had been quite emotional to see him push himself to the absolute limit for children with the disease.
Ollie, nine, was diagnosed with the condition in 2015 and his sister Amelia, now seven, was diagnosed a month later.
He said: “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.”
Mr Thomas had hoped to use a lighter plane, but that became unavailable so he had to use a 1,250kg Cessna Aircraft and completed two-mile loops of the airfield without any assistance at the turns. Before the attempt, he 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 continued: “I’ll have a crazy level of exhaustion, but I’ve got a good support team and they will keep me going.”
You can find more information and donate to Carl Thomas’ fundraising efforts here.