LOCAL fund-raisers have set themselves a monumental challenge this year to help support local boys Rhys Allan and Riley Murray.
The six friends intend to cycle the 144 miles from Montrose to the base of Ben Nevis before climbing the 4,409-foot mountain itself, all over the course of three days.
The challenge, which will take place between Friday, August 12, and Sunday, August 14, was set by Rhys’s dad Gary who, with friend Adrian Fuller, undertook a similar marathon cycle run last year.
He said: “I was talking to my mum and said I wanted to do something this year too, but it had to be bigger. She suggested a bike run followed by a climb so I’ve stuck with the idea and came up with Ben Nevis.”
Gary will again be joined by Adrian as well as Riley’s dad, Dale, and friends Scott Clarkson and Rudi Wyper, none of whom have undertaken that length of cycle run before.
They will all be cutting their hillwalking teeth by climbing Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, and have already started to training to make sure their fitness is up to scratch.
Gary said: “Three days is quite realistic to do it in. Last year Adrian and I covered 177 miles in two days. It will be a challenge, but it has to be if we want to raise decent money.
“Rudi and Scott said after last year that if we were planning anything else to contact them, so I gave them a call and they were happy to get involved.
“We decided we’d do it for Riley too and when we told Dale he said he’d get involved too. We’ve agreed a route and everyone’s happy with what we’re doing and the timescale.”
While the six men will cycle the route to Ben Nevis, they will be joined in Fort William by a small group, including Gary and Dale’s wives Penny and Trudy, who will undertake the climb along with them.
Their route will take them to Forfar, Kirriemuir and Blairgowrie then on to Pitlochry and Blair Atholl where they will break their journey overnight. They will then follow the A9 to Dalwhinnie before cutting across to Fort William. All funds raised will go towards the cost of continuing care for Rhys (3) and Riley (5), both of whom have cerebral palsy.
They both regularly attend the specialist Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments at the Craighalbert Centre in Cumbernauld and receive private physiotherapy treatment, all of which is funded by their parents.
Gary and Penny also took Rhys to the Xcell Centre in Dusseldorf at the end of last year after raising £20,000 for stem cell treatment in a bid to improve his condition.
Dale and Trudy’s main aim at the moment is to find Riley a new electric wheelchair, which could cost anything between £5,000 and £25,000. The couple are also in the process of adapting part of their home to provide Riley with en suite facilities and to give him more independence as he gets older.
Dale said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the generous donations people have given to Riley’s fund. At the moment we’re looking to purchase a new electric wheelchair and we’re at the stage of finding out which is the best one for him for home and school, indoors and outdoors.
“We’re also in the process of converting one of the rooms of our house to provide a bathroom as well as lowering all the switches etc which will really help him in the future to be more independent. This cycle run will be a great help in getting him that chair.”
Sponsor forms will be distributed to local outlets this week and each of the cyclists will carry one to collect sponsors as and when required.