Rockhoppin’ Trail’s Trail Hero of the Month
for April is a runner who has inspired thousands of people to push beyond what
they’ve thought to be their limits and discover new strengths. She’s the
perfect example of someone who’s not willing to settle for what society expects
her to be, and instead she inspires others to reach for what they can be.


Mimi Anderson, aka Marvellous Mimi, lover
of all things pink, is an ultra-runner, and possibly the gutsiest gran who’s
ever crossed a finish line.

This triple World Record holder
from Kent, UK, has tackled and achieved more feats than any ultra-runner I can
think of – and she’s only been running for 15 years.
Mimi is not afraid of any distance, any
conditions. She has done, and won, ultras in the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib
Deserts, she has three world records to her name – a Guiness World Record as the fastest woman to run from John
O’Groats in northern Scotland to Land’s End in southern England (12d15h46m), a Guiness World Record for the furthest distance covered on a treadmill in
seven days by a female (649.86km), and holds the Fastest Crossing of Ireland on Foot (male/female), in a time of 3d15h26m. She’s also the first person to hold both End to End world records at the same time.
In 2011 Mimi became the first woman to complete a double
Comrades Marathon (180km) – both ways, incidentally, in comfortably sub-11hrs.
In 2011 she took on the hottest place on
earth, Death Valley, not only completing the Badwater Ultra Marathon 217km
non-stop race in under 48hrs, but then summiting Mount Whitney, turning around
and running the entire distance back to the start, making her the first British
woman to run the Double Badwater (470km in 108hr10min).
Mimi in the Namib
Just three months later, she then completed
the Spartathon – 245km from Athens to Sparta in 32hrs33min.
Sub-zero temperatures can’t seem to scare
Mimi either – she was the overall winner of the 6633 Extreme Ultra Marathon in
2007, a 352 mile non-stop self-sufficiency race in the Arctic, setting a course
record that is yet to be beaten: 143hrs 23min. She remains the only woman to
have finished the race.
Mimi in the Arctic

So, believe me, this wonder woman is hard
core! And her challenge for 2014, you ask? Well, this one may be local for us
South Africans, but it’s still beyond the limit – and that’s exactly why Mimi
will be taking it on. Mimi will be doing the Freedom Challenge – 2 350km
from Pietermaritzburg in KZN to Paarl in the Western Cape – but true to Mimi form, she won’t be doing it the “easy” way…  she’ll be RUNNING.

Mimi being Mimi
The challenge will involve two marathons a day – that’s
64 back-to-back marathons over 32 days, all off-road.
Mimi won’t be tackling this feat alone,
she’ll be running with fellow ultra nutter Samantha Gash, and they’re running
to raise funds for Freedom Runners, a start-up social enterprise in the Free
State that will employ a dozen women to make and sell re-useable sanitary pads
for young school girls in rural areas of South Africa. The project is being
done in collaboration with Save the Children, who will be overseeing the initiative,
educating on topics like puberty, menstruation, safe sex and HIV.