FORMER Newcastle United player Robbie Elliott has lined up a new challenge for the public to raise more money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Elliott and friend Phil Gray completed an epic 3,500-mile bike ride from Lisbon to Newcastle last year, calling in at all the clubs which had been managed by his former manager, Sir Bobby.
Now he wants the public to take up their own challenge by taking part in a cycle sportive starting at St James’ Park.
Entrants will be able to choose from three distances – 40 miles, 70 miles or 125 miles – while raising money for charity.
The hardcore 125-mile challenge was chosen because this was the average daily distance that Robbie and Phil had to cycle every day for 25 days.
The Robbie Elliott Foundation is also becoming the headline charity for the Castles Challenge triathlon to be held in the shadow of Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, over the last weekend in July, and for the Alnwick trail, which runs on June 23.
Elliott said the trio of events launched are an ideal target for New Year keep fit programmes and families searching for a target to get them back on their bikes as the summer approaches.
He said: “The North East public were hugely supportive of our Bike for Bobby ride and we were determined that it would not be the end of our fundraising.
“We held a 33-mile bike ride sportive (non-competitive organised event) through Northumberland to mark our completion of the 3,500-mile ride and it was a big success and a day enjoyed by everyone from families to more serious cyclists.
“So, we have decided to make it an annual event, with next year’s set for Sunday, August 11.
“There is something for everyone. Serious cyclists can tackle the 125-miler, you still have to be pretty fit to do 70 miles, and the 40-miler should be within reach of everyone with a bit of training and preparation.
“At this time of year everyone sets their minds to getting fit and losing a few pounds after Christmas and having a target is all-important. By entering our event you can help raise cash for our charity and reach your own fitness goal.”
Riders will be timed around the course using a chip and volunteers will be on hand to ensure the routes are well marshalled and signposted. Phil, an ironman triathlete whose experience was instrumental in getting Robbie through the European adventure, said: “We hope the cycle event can go from strength-to-strength and keep raising money.
“It is for all abilities and ages and we had the full cross section out at the inaugural event in November.”
Bike for Bobby, which raised tens of thousands of pounds for Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, was an epic cycling challenge, which saw Robbie and Phil riding between eight clubs in four different countries managed by Sir Bobby.
It proved extremely tough as the duo battled mountains, road closures, punctures, injuries and an illness to Robbie, which threatened the future of the ride.
Robbie, a former Newcastle, Sunderland, Leeds, Bolton and Hartlepool player, founded his own charity, the Robbie Elliott Foundation, this year to raise funds to combat cancer.
For more information on the event, visit www.bikeforbobby.com