DAVID Hedley, a 34 year-old fundraiser for Marie Curie Cancer Care from Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, raised over £4,000 as he took on arguably the UK’s premier sportive event, Etape Caledonia, earlier today.
The event, which starts and finishes in the Highland Perthshire town of Pitlochry, takes participants through 81 miles of closed road cycling, and is widely regarded as one of the most stunning sportives in the UK.
This year, the event saw 5,250 cyclists a chance to ride in pelotons on safe, closed roads.
David started fundraising in 2012 after his mother was cared for by the Marie Curie Cancer Care Glasgow hospice.
Two years later, he has raised over £4,000 and taken part in three Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Series events, the Etape Pennines 2012 and Etape Caledonia in 2013 and 2014.
He said: “I’m very proud of raising a lot of funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
“When my mum was cared by Marie Curie Cancer Care Glasgow Hospice, they were so supportive and it means a great deal to know that the money we raise allows Marie Curie Cancer Care to keep doing the fantastic work that they continuously do.
“The support they gave our whole family was incredible and invaluable. Raising money is just our way to say thank you to the wonderful nurses – who my mum called her angles.”
In 2013, David completed the Etape Caledonia race in just over five hours and this year he managed to cut his time down and finished in less than five hours.
He said: “The event was great, it was a good atmosphere and it’s a fantastic course.
“You get it all, challenging hills, places to pick up speed and some amazing views. You also have the opportunity to ride in pelotons that gives you a chance to chat with the other riders which is always great.
“It’s especially fun to see so many people riding in the Marie Curie Cancer Care Daffodil Team. It gives you a sense of belonging when you know other riders are cycling for the same cause.”
The established Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, now in its eighth year, was the first closed road cycling event in the UK and has been immensely popular in recent years with general entries selling out in as little as eight hours as over 5,250 riders race to gain their spot on the start line.
James Robinson, managing director at IMG Challenger World, said: “We are absolutely delighted with how well the eighth edition of Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia went this weekend.
“The event continues to be immensely popular amongst cyclists from all over the world, and you can see why with the stunning scenery on the route and the festival atmosphere at the finish line in Pitlochry.
“It was fantastic to see a cycling legend like Chris Boardman enjoying the unique opportunity to ride on traffic free roads and I’m sure other cyclists relished the opportunity to speak with him during the course of the day.”
Marie Curie Cancer Care is the official charity partner of the Etape Series. Etape Caledonia and Etape Pennines both encourage participants to raise vital funds which enable Marie Curie Nurses to provide free nursing care and support to terminally-ill people and their families in communities across the UK.
Marie Curie Cancer Care director of fundraising, Fabian French, said: “Marie Curie Cancer Care is delighted to be the charity partner for the Etape Series for the third time.
“We are grateful to all the riders who conquered the Etape challenges over the last two years and fundraised for us. So far, they have raised a fantastic £860,000, which has helped Marie Curie provide 43,000 hours of free nursing care.”
Prospective participants for the 2015 Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia will be able to register their interest immediately following the 2014 event.
Those who register will get an exclusive 24 hour window to enter the event when places go on sale later this year and, with general entries selling out in just eight hours this year, those 24 hours could make all the difference to those budding cyclists hoping to take on the 81-mile cycling challenge.
Visit www.etapecaledonia.co.uk to register your interest.
To keep up with all the latest news from the Etape Series, visit www.twitter.com/etapeseries and www.facebook.com/etapeseries
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