Cyclists raise incredible amount for charities
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A group of north-east athletes have raised an incredible £15,800 for charities while training at home.
The team at Total Endurance - a specialist training facility in Aberdeen - set themselves the challenge of cycling as many miles as possible throughout the bank holiday weekend, aiming for 139 miles a day each.
The athletes coached by Total Endurance range from youth athletes to those at retirement age, and from distance runners and swimmers to triathletes who complete in anything from super sprint triathlons (400m swim/10km bike/3km run) to long distance triathlons (3.8km Swim/180km Bike/42.2km run).
The challenge was inspired by one of the athletes' previous fundraising challenges, where he cycled 14,000 miles across America in 2018.
Former Turriff Academy pupil Ruth Hills - who qualified alongside husband Richard to represent Team GB in the now-cancelled European Championships as well as having qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships due to take place in New Zealand in November - said: "We all were feeling a bit down in the dumps and hoping that we would have some races or something to look forward to this year and probably all complaining about what was going to happen to our fitness, etc, to our coaches when Ken, the owner of Total Endurance, came up with the challenge.
"With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all become aware that charities have been struggling to raise money by their usual means.
"For example, many events such as London Marathon - which I was also meant to run in - have been cancelled or postponed, meaning there has been less opportunities for charities to raise the money they desperately need.
"The charities we chose to support were Kayleigh's Wee Stars, Childline and Scottish Association for Mental Health - all of these charities have reported that they are having an increase demand for their services during the pandemic.
"The challenge itself was inspired by Total Endurance athlete, and former special forces soldier, Dean Stott's record breaking ride on the Pan American Highway where he completed 14,000 miles in 99 days and raised £900,000 for charity.
"The key part of the challenge was to have as many of the group as possible, either individually or in teams, ride Dean's average daily distance of 139 miles using indoor trainers and online cycling systems like Zwift, which simulate riding outside with other riders."
In total around 65 athletes and staff members took part in the challenge throughout the weekend, including representatives from the charities, a four year old who cycled one mile and his 34-weeks pregnant mother who managed two hours on the bike and an athlete who had recovered from Covid-19, and they checked in with each other throughout the challenge using platforms like Skype and Zoom.
Some of the athletes went above and beyond, with two athletes completing 278 miles - double the target - in one day, another athlete had to pull out injured with only three miles left to go and two others managed to do 12 hours straight on their bikes.
Continuing, Ruth said: "Myself and a few others pledged to ride 500km (311miles) in 48hours, and I myself spent almost 17hours on my bike, indoors, staring out the window.
"Others just added what they could to the totals, but everyone really pushed themselves outwith their comfort zones.
"The support that team showed for each other was incredible, we each had low moments and there was always another member of the team or the fantastic donations that were coming in to pick us back up."
In total the event saw the athletes cycle a whopping 10,665 miles.
As they were so close to Dean's 14,000 miles, some of the group decided to continue in the evenings following the event in a final push to match his mileage.
If you would like to make a donation for their efforts you can do this online at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TotalEndurance.
The three charities which their efforts support have all benefitted people living in the north-east.
Kayleigh's Wee Stars is an Oldmeldrum-based charity which helps families with a child who has a terminal illness.
Childline is a free, private and confidential service for young people to talk about any issues they're going through.
SAMH is the Scottish Association for Mental Health, and offers a range of mental health services and support for individuals and communities.