Cyclists accelerate through the mud in Viking Challenge

The start of the Viking Challenge in 2016 PHOTO: Supplied

The start of the Viking Challenge in 2016 PHOTO: Supplied

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An incredible 1,400 cyclists took part in this year’s annual Viking Challenge charity off–road cycle event on Sunday, helped along by glorious sunshine and a lot of mud!

The 30/50km cycle challenge, which starts and finishes at Redmile Primary School was the 22nd annual event. Organisers hope to have raised £24,000 for school and its charity partner The Stroke Association, through entry fees and sponsorship money.

Louise Knight, community and events fundraising manager for The Stroke Association, said: “We’re thrilled to have been chosen as the charity partner for the Viking Challenge in 2016 and have had a brilliant time being involved with such a great sporting event.

“There are around 152,000 strokes a year in the UK – that’s around one every three and a half minutes. The money raised will help the Stroke Association’s work to prevent strokes and reduce their effect through campaigning, education and research. It will also go a long way in helping stroke survivors get the essential support they need to rebuild their life.”

Colin Shearer, chair of the organising committee, said: “It was a great day with all participants taking the day in their stride. Lots of good fun and serious riding.

“The food stops were as popular as always with cakes, chocolates, bananas and pork pies all being eaten across the course. It was good to see familiar faces riding the route as well as new faces from across the county.”

A test of endurance for even the serious rider the Viking Challenge attracts riders of all ages and experience – teams and families.

Mick Hickman has ridden every Viking Challenge so far, he said: “You can’t beat the route, atmosphere, raising money and of course the mud!”

The money raised will support the school over the forthcoming year with purchasing some new computers for classrooms as well as supporting families with subsidies towards all school trips and swimming lessons.

Julie Hopkins, Headteacher at Redmile Primary School said: “I would like to express special thanks to everyone who has helped organise this amazing event, especially our Viking Challenge committee who work all year round on a voluntary basis to be ready for the big day.

“Without them, nothing would come to fruition and we realise how fortunate we are to have such a great team.”