Sunderland cyclists urged to join in the last leg of an epic journey

Launch of a Dublin to Sunderland bike ride at the Stadium of Light,  l-r Harry Hall, Ralph Saelzer and Phil Kay

Launch of a Dublin to Sunderland bike ride at the Stadium of Light, l-r Harry Hall, Ralph Saelzer and Phil Kay

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WEARSIDE cyclists are being urged to join the finale of an epic bike ride.

The Dublin to Sunderland (D2S) Challenge will see a host of cyclists – including former Sunderland players Marco Gabbiadini, Michael Gray and Chris Makin – take to the road in aid of the Foundation of Light.

Kicking off at the Aviva Stadium, in Dublin, the ride will follow a route along the Irish coast, across the Galloway Hills, in Scotland, and along Hadrian’s Wall, before finishing at the Stadium of Light five days later.

Now organisers are encouraging cyclists to take part in the Final 50, the closing stage of the feat.

Harry Hall, 49, and wife Susan, from Houghton, came up with the idea for the fund-raiser.

Harry, who own Sunderland’s Reds Hair and Beauty, said: “We’ve had a really good response from people. There has been a lot of interest.

“Of course, attempting the whole ride is a big commitment, but we’re hoping more will sign up for the final stage.”

Twenty-eight riders have signed up for the full ride, with another 15 to 20 joining them for the final 50-mile stage, which runs between Hadrian’s Wall and Sunderland.

To join them, fill in the entry form printed below left.

The Foundation of Light, formerly SAFC Foundation, is the registered charity of Sunderland AFC.

Supporting about 40,000 children every year, it helps people gain skills and qualifications, and runs family learning programmes to regenerate communities.

Fund-raising covers 95 per cent of its project running costs.

Event organiser Katrina Quinn said: “The Final 50 is a great way for cyclists who don’t have time for the full challenge, but still want to support the Foundation of Light.”

“There will be a great team spirit within the group on the ride and the Gala Dinner will be a good opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the day and quench the riders’ thirsts.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho

THE D2S Challenge, from July 17 to 22, is a 380-mile ride.

It is sponsored by Irish builders’ merchant Grafton Group Plc.

The Final 50 follows Hadrian’s Wall, before dropping down to follow the Tyne to Gateshead, Jarrow and the coastal run into Sunderland, past Roker Beach to the Stadium of Light.

Participants need to pledge £300 in sponsorship to take part.

There is still time to sign up for the full ride.

Cyclists pay a £250 deposit and pledge to raise a minimum of £1,250 in sponsorship.

For more information, call Katrina Quinn on 551 5311, or email katrina. quinn@safc.com or visit www.dublintosunderland. co.uk.