Alnwick man to join rugby legends for 500-mile charity cycle challenge from Twickenham to Murrayfield
Rugby legends are gearing up for a 500-mile cycle challenge ahead of the Six Nations clash between Scotland and England.
The 10-strong group aim to carry the Calcutta Cup match ball from Twickenham (London) to Murrayfield (Edinburgh) in 48 hours ahead of kick-off on Saturday, February 8.
Ex-Scotland captain Rob Wainwright, former England player John Hall and ex-Irish international Paddy Johns are among those taking up the challenge.
Joining them is Graeme Smith, a former player for Alnwick, Tynedale, Northumbria University and the Northumberland county team.
They aim to raise £100,000 for Motor Neuron Disease and Colon Cancer charities in support of former Scotland and British Lions legends Doddie Weir and Tom Smith.
Graeme said: “I am incredibly lucky to be one of only ten core riders taking part in such an amazing event.
“I know Doddie through rugby so I was keen to sign up for it. I am excited to represent Alnwick RFC!”
They will leave Twickenham at 11.30am on Thursday, February 6 and are scheduled to arrive in the North East on Friday afternoon, calling at Darlington Mowden Park RFC around 3pm and Newcastle Falcons around 7pm.
At midnight they will leave Blagdon, near Seaton Burn and ride north along the A68 to Jed-Forest RFC where they are due to arrive around 4.45am. They will press on via Carfraemill to Edinburgh, arriving at Murrayfield around 12.40pm. Kick-off is at 4.45pm.
“I’m fairly confident as I’m a keen cyclist and have managed a fair bit of training over the past couple of weeks,” said Graeme.
“I’m hoping that if I stay focused it will be okay – but you never know how a bit of bad weather might affect things!
“We will be doing some of the riding in the middle of the night when it will be pitch black.
“Hopefully, by the time we pass through Northumberland and reach the Scottish border we will know the finishing line is in sight and that will spur us on.”
The likes of Will Carling, Peter Winterbottom, Gareth Archer, John Barclay and Kelly Brown are also expected to join the riders on part of the route.
To find out more visit www.woundedlions500.co.uk