International rugby stars' charity cycle - 500 miles in 48 hours
A charity cycle team led by former Scotland captain and British & Irish Lion, Rob Wainwright, is cycling from Twickenham to BT Murrayfield, this week to bring the Scotland v England match ball to the home of Scottish Rugby.
And the 500-mile marathon is being undertaken to raise funds for two of Wainwright’s former team-mates, Doddie Weir and Tom Smith, who are both fighting serious health conditions.
Setting off on Thursday (6 February), the Wounded Lions 500, which includes international rugby players and endurance cyclists, will pedal for 48 hours, arriving in time to deliver the match ball for kick-off at the Scotland v England match in the GUINNESS Six Nations at 4.45pm on Saturday.
Wainwright told www.scottishrugby.org today: “Tom intends to join us for the first 20 miles of the cycle from Twickenham and then he’ll be going off for chemotherapy treatment.It speaks volumes of the man.”
Other players joining the challenge include former Scotland caps, John Barclay, Kelly Brown, Roger Arneil, Damian Cronin and Paul Burnell; ex-England internationalists John Hall and Peter Winterbottom; Ireland’s Paddy Johns and Paul Wallace; and former Wasps player Paul Volley, who played for the club for 16 years.
The stars of yesteryear are aiming to raise more than £100,000 for two charities close to the hearts of all involved.
- Namely, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, founded by former Scotland and Lion lock, Doddie Weir, which was set up in 2017 following his Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis to fund research for a cure to the devastating disease;
- and 40tude, which was selected by Tom Smith, a former 61 times Scotland cap, who also propped the Lions to Test series victory in South Africa in 1997 and went on to play the three Test matches against Australia on the 2001 tour. Tom was recently diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer. 40tude helps to fund pioneering research projects, targeted at the early diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer.
Rob Wainwright said: “I’m hugely honoured to have played for Scotland and the Lions alongside Doddie and Tom. Both are top men. Both have tragically hit hard times with their health recently. Whilst we cannot heal them, we can point our bikes north for 48 hours and be inspired by their fortitude and courage in the face of huge adversity.
“They are two very different characters, but legends the twain. We aim to beat last year's £65,000 fundraising total and help improve both the treatment and the prognosis for MND and colon cancer.”
Scottish Rugby is working in tandem with the Wounded Lions 500 in support of both Doddie and Tom and spectators at Saturday’s Calcutta Cup match will have a chance to show their appreciation for the riders’ endeavours. My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is an official charity partner of Scottish Rugby and we are also working closely to help Tom.
The ride is being supported by Scottish Rugby partner, FOSROC, provider of high-quality construction solutions; Neubria – creators of a range of plant-based supplements that are rooted in science and proven to support brain health; and Crerar Hotels, a luxury hotel chain based in Scotland.
This is the second year that the ride has taken place, having raised £65,000 last year. Riders then averaged two hours of sleep across 48 hours during the gruelling challenge, which saw them maintain speeds of 15mph in order to deliver the match ball on time.
This year’s ride will be split into legs with short breaks at rugby clubs throughout the UK, including one of Tom’s former clubs, Northampton Saints.
Cyclists are warmly welcomed to support the team and join the ride for as much of the route as they wish with a donation of £1 per mile. However, please note that the ride is unsupported and “pirate code” will apply after the first 50 miles, which means that if you drop behind you are on your own! More details of the route and timings are available on the website here: https://woundedlions500.co.uk/
All donations can be made on the Wounded Lions 500 fundraising page here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WoundedLions500