A rough ride for a noble cause

Sports Editor Mark Sleightholm describes the eventful first leg of a determined Newcastle student’s charity challenge.

Mark Sleightholm
7th May 2018
The 900 mile bike ride was one of many fundraising events that Scott has planned for this year Image: Scott McKenzie

Master’s student Scott McKenzie has completed the first phase of his phenomenal – some would say crazy – charity fundraising challenge, having cycled the length of the UK in just ten days.

In August McKenzie will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro, with his double challenge aiming to raise £3000 for Dig Deep, a charity who work to improve sanitation and access to clean water in rural Kenya.

With his main cycling experience coming from his Deliveroo job, McKenzie set off from John o’ Groats on 7 April. He had set himself the ambitious target of cycling 100 miles a day, and made a strong start. “My body was feeling good, the sun was shining, the scenery was stunning,” he recalled afterwards.

This sunny start wasn’t to last, however, and a knee injury plagued McKenzie from Glasgow onwards. “I was in agony with every turn of the pedals!” he explained, but help was in hand in the form of his 74-year-old grandfather who cycled with him for 96 miles for moral support.

McKenzie took it easier the following day and cycled a mere 49 miles, but picked up the pace again as he headed into the South.

[pullquote]Help was in hand in the form of his 74-year-old grandfather who cycled with him for 96 miles for moral support[/pullquote]

Throughout his challenge he was supported by relatives following in a campervan, where he could get food and somewhere to rest, but a badly timed outbreak of shingles forced his dad to return home after three days with “his face swollen up like a balloon.”

Further threats to McKenzie’s progress came from “awful weather conditions” and an injury in his other leg, with the wind so strong towards the end of his ride that he was blown off his bike on two occasions.

McKenzie, who was accompanied by various relatives towards the end of his challenge, said: “Great Britain threw everything it could at me on the final day to test me, but thankfully I got a second wind towards the end which hurtled me towards the finish line with the biggest feeling of achievement I have ever felt!

“As you can imagine the prosecco was flowing after this!”

McKenzie described the ride as “much more difficult than I could ever have imagined” but is well on his way to meeting his £3000 target (https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/scottmckenzie1) ahead of his Kilimanjaro climb

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