A MUM-of-two in remission from breast cancer is taking on the toughest leg of a global yacht race.
Mel Thompson will be crossing the Pacific Ocean as she completes the longest section of the Clipper Round the World race, organised by Clipper Ventures based in Gosport.
The North End resident was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of 2012 but after treatment she is in remission.
Now she will take on the 6,000-nautical mile route as she becomes a crew member for legs five and six of the Clipper 15/16 race.
Mel said: ‘Before I was diagnosed, I used to do mixed martial art classes and boot camp. But after recovering, I found it difficult to get my fitness levels up.
‘Taking part in Clipper is the chance for me to get fit again.
‘The Mountbatten Centre has offered me a year’s free membership and I have an exercise plan to help build strength in my arms, shoulders and back.
‘I have already lost half a stone and I’m feeling great.’
Shortly after Mel’s treatment finished, she took part in a three-week sailing trip with the Atlantic Rally for Cruises, sailing from Gran Canaria to St Lucia.
Once she returned home she expected to draw a line under adventures – but found she couldn’t.
The 44-year-old added: ‘The sailing trip in 2013 was meant to be it. That was going to be my thing and then I was going to go back to normal life.
‘But it just wasn’t going to work out like that. Things had changed and I changed.
‘It just developed from there.’
Mel will fly out to Western Australia in mid-January next year and will race from the coast to China in leg five before sailing from China to the west coast in America for leg six.
The Pacific leg is the most gruelling and the racers could find times when they are nearer to people in the International Space Station than people on land.
Mel said: ‘I am really excited but I am also petrified.
‘My family think I am a little crazy but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
‘I wanted to go for the hardest leg of the race because not many people decide to do just the Pacific.
‘Then I thought about adding leg five to experience coming into port, seeing the culture and then leaving again.’