A sponsored cycle and row from the Eiffel Tower to Trafalgar Square has raised a massive £4,300 for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) - although the action took place at Uxbridge College on static bikes and rowing machines.
The gruelling 266km ride from Paris to Calais, 34km across the English Channel, and remaining 120km from Dover to London was completed by teams of eight sporty students and staff - with a bit of help from some not-quite-so-fit ‘guest’ riders and rowers - who took turns with 15 minute bike sprints and 10 minute rows in an attempt to complete the equivalent distance.
The first team to hit the target - at which point everyone else gratefully gave up - was the Pink Team who completed the journey in 13hrs 21mins and 44 seconds. The teams started at 4.45am.
The fundraising was also supported by a themed raffle with prizes including a signed Arsenal Ladies shirt, a QPR men’s signed shirt, a signed photo of rower Sir Steve Redgrave, a golf day for four at The Shire London, a £50 voucher from intu Uxbridge shopping centre, and skincare products and cosmetics by Rodial and Benefit.
A cake stall offering ‘good versus evil cakes’ - sugary and creamy cakes up against healthy options such as low sugar flapjacks - also helped keep everyone going and raised money towards the cause.
Sport Lecturer Richard Johnson, who led the event, said: “It was extremely challenging and harder than anyone imagined - people had cramp and were in tears. It was a real test of character to have to keep on going when you’ve already given all you’ve got. It was a massive success with great energy and so much positivity. There was also awesome leadership from students with lots of focus on raising and collecting money.”
Standout participants included sports lecturer Stuart Clapson who completed the fastest cycle with 11km in 15 minutes, and the top individual fundraiser was student Matt Severn who raised £380.
The event was co-ordinated by Richard, whose own experiences of cardiac problems inspired the choice of charity, and was the second in aid of CRY held at Uxbridge College. Next year’s event is already being planned with suggestions including getting a group of staff and students together to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (the real one).
Richard spent the first two months of his life in hospital after being born with a hole in the heart and related issues, and as he grew up was repeatedly warned by doctors to avoid strenuous exercise. However he has been involved in cross-country running and other sports since he was a teenager and continues to be in better health than might be expected.