A SUPER-FIT military policeman, who was told it was unlikely he’d ever cycle again, is getting back on his bike for charity.
Mark Hardy, from Boldon Colliery, is aiming to complete three marathon bike rides in just over a week, to raise cash for South Tyneside District Hospital – where wife Carolynne works as a cancer nurse specialist – and for the Northern Oesophago Gastric Cancer Fund.
Army Staff Sgt Hardy had just completed a tour of Afghanistan when he collapsed with a ruptured disc in his spine in January last year.
He was taken to the South Shields hospital where he was given an urgent scan before being transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for surgery.
A slow recovery followed but, with the help of military physiotherapists and rehabilitation courses, he was able to return to work after 10 weeks.
Despite warnings by doctors he might not be able to cycle competitively again, he fought his way back to fitness and has been back in the saddle since September.
Now he plans to take part in the 84-mile Legend of Glert ride in north Wales on June 15, before trying a 104-mile ride through Northumberland on June 21 in the Virgin Money Cyclone event.
Finally, he is finishing with a 102-mile challenge in the Ripon Revolution event in North Yorkshire, on June 29.
He said: “I used to play rugby to a high standard and I won’t be able to do that again, but I’m just so pleased to be back cycling, which I love.
“I’m really looking forward to doing the three rides in the summer and raising money for such worthwhile causes.”
To sponsor Staff Sgt Hardy’s rides, go to his JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/Mark-Hardy6