Football ace Julio Arca is set to get in the saddle as he does his bit for good causes this summer.
The former Sunderland AFC and current South Shields midfielder is to take part in a charity bike ride.
I’m not much of a cyclist if I’m honest, but I’m always up for a challengeJulio Arca
Fresh from helping the Mariners to a third successive promotion, the 37-year-old will cycle 350 miles between Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia in June.
He will be among 40 people participating in the Croatian Coastal ride in aid of the Foundation of Light.
Julio, from Argentina, said: “I’m really looking forward to the Croatian Coastal.
“I’m coming off the back of a tough but successful season with South Shields but I can’t wait to join up with the foundation team and get started.
“I’m not much of a cyclist if I’m honest, but I’m always up for a challenge.
“There’s going to be great camaraderie among the group, beautiful scenery along the way and we’re raising money to help those in need across the North East.”
It will be another switch of sports for Julio, who took part in – and won – a charity boxing match in 2016.
He made more than 140 appearances in his time at Sunderland, and has played more than 100 times for South Shields, helping them to three promotions and numerous other successes, including captaining them to FA Vase final glory at Wembley last year.
He is now hoping fans of his current and former clubs will get behind his fundraising efforts by donating to his fundraising page.
The foundation holds a cycling challenge every year, and previous routes have included Brussels to Paris, Dublin to Sunderland and Wroclaw to Prague, with over £200,000 raised for North East communities.
Foundation of Light events manager Jemma Garrett said: “The International Cycle Challenge is the high point of our events calendar and every year it gets better and better.
“We are delighted Julio has signed up for this year’s ride.
“He will definitely help motivate our cyclists and I’m sure Sunderland, Middlesbrough and South Shields fans will be following his progress with great interest.”
The 2018 challenge will take place from June 13 to 18 and is sponsored by Grafton Group plc, and supported by logistics experts OSE European.
To donate to Julio’s fundraising efforts, visit www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/safc/julioarca