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Hamlet, a 100k run, mental maths and an oil painting - the strangest charity challenge yet

PUBLISHED: 17:39 14 September 2016

Mike Smith is embarking on a 24 hour marathon of tasks to raise money for WaterAid

Mike Smith is embarking on a 24 hour marathon of tasks to raise money for WaterAid

Archant

As Mike Smith embarks on a truly unique 24 hour challenge, it’s Shakespeare that scares him the most

Mike Smith is embarking on a 24 hour marathon of tasks to raise money for WaterAidMike Smith is embarking on a 24 hour marathon of tasks to raise money for WaterAid

Completing a marathon is well out of most of our comfort zones. But one man has decided that running 42 kilometres simply isn’t enough.

Mike Smith, a Muswell Hill based measured building surveyor, is undertaking a challenge over the course of 24 hours to run 100 kilometres, paint an oil portrait, perform Act III of Hamlet, survive a 30 minute mental math test and break the world record for the number of sit-ups in an hour (currently 2477).

“It’s a bit of a crazy project. For the last three years I’ve been into ultra-marathons. I ran across the Sahara Desert, did the 100k from London to Brighton. I’ve taken that idea of pushing yourself further than you think you can and applied that to other facets of my life.

“In one day what would you really want to just really go for and leave nothing on the table?”

Mike Smith is embarking on a 24 hour marathon of tasks to raise money for WaterAidMike Smith is embarking on a 24 hour marathon of tasks to raise money for WaterAid

Having completed the infamous Marathon des Sables – a 250km journey through 50 degree Moroccan heat – a leisurely run down the Thames is going to be a doddle.

Of all the activities he has chosen, performing Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy is the most daunting.

“It’s the exposure and actually being in front of people doing something I’m not experienced in or comfortable with that’s the biggest test for me.

“‘To be or not to be’ is the one thing I know! To do the whole of Hamlet would be four and a half hours so I thought I’d just do one act. The other actors are really there to support me through my lines. It won’t be an extremely polished performance, but it’s going to be interesting!”

Kicking off at midnight, Smith expects the run to take around 11 hours and will paint an oil portrait of a live sitter in his downtime between the other activities, “with the keen desire not to cause too much offence to whoever is kind enough to sit for me”.

While Smith is used to tests of endurance, he is undertaking this one with a cause in mind, hoping to raise £2,000 for WaterAid.

“It’ll be one day of complete madness and within that madness I’ll find out something about myself. And then I can encourage people to do similar things.

“I like the idea that people are capable of a lot more than they think they are.”

Mike Smith will perform Act III of Hamlet on September 17, 8:30pm at St John’s Church in Hampstead, NW3 1NU. There is a suggested donation to WaterAid of £10. justgiving.com/fundraising/Michael-Smith113

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