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Amazing 6808 Miles In 24 Hours Charity Cycling Effort For Rio’s Alan Shearer

6 years ago
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On the same day that England began their World Cup campaign over in Brazil charity fundraiser, Keith Harbottle, led a team of 20 volunteers raising money in support of the Alan Shearer Foundation.

Under his fundraising banner of Action4Smiles the squad of Northumbria police officers and support staff were attempting to pedal the 6,000 mile distance from Newcastle to Rio in only 24 hours on static bikes at the MetroCentre, Gateshead.

At 1pm on Saturday the epic challenge began, with BBC Look North’s Jeff Brown kindly doing the honours as he set the cyclists off with a hearty blow of his vuvuzela, a throwback to the last World Cup in South Africa.

The hard work began for both the cyclists and the supporting cast of volunteers, which included those with collecting buckets and selling raffle tickets, all proceeds of which would go to help fund the provision of free access to activities for the disabled children and adults who use the Alan Shearer Centre.

Five hours into the challenge, the team had averaged almost 400 miles per hour between them, well ahead of schedule.Teamwork and mutual support helped keep the wheels turning to a backdrop of a deserted MetroCentre and just a few minutes short of 9am on Sunday, the 6,000 mile target was reached.

As the target was achieved Keith Harbottle proudly reflected:

“This was without doubt the most rigorous challenge I have ever taken on. I still can’t believe that I got twenty people who aren’t paid athletes to take part.”

The police service volunteers were not finished there though and as the MetroCentre once again opened its door to the public, stunned early morning shoppers watched as the Road To Rio squad kept their tired legs pedalling towards the 1pm Sunday finishing line.

When the 24 hours were up, the Action4Smiles fundraisers had covered 6,808 miles between them and raised thousands of pounds for the Foundation. Each and every one of them had played their part, although it is impossible not to mention that Natalie Robson covered an astonishing 500 miles alone.

The man who had set Keith and his team on their way earlier, Jeff Brown, was full of praise:

“The Alan Shearer Foundation is a great charity and I’m a keen cyclist myself. However, completing 6,808 miles in only 24 hours is an unbelievable achievement for the 20 volunteers.

“Full marks to Keith and the Action4Smiles team for their commitment and endurance, I hope they’re not too sore!”

Two of the volunteers aptly summed up why they were going the extra mile forthe Alan Shearer Foundation.

Steve Carey said:

“My ten year old son actually uses the Alan Shearer Centre, he absolutely loves the ball pool and sensory rooms. It is a nice safe place where he can feel comfortable, something that is essential for a child with his needs.”

While Michael Otterson added:

“I have two kids who haven’t got disabilities, so I really appreciate what I’ve got and wanted to give something back.”

You can read Keith Harbottle’s Road To Rio blog and the build up to the challenge by visiting www.alanshearerfoundation.org.uk. There is also still time for people to donate via Keith’s BT MyDonate page: mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/action4smiles1

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